Tickets On Sale Today For Cerise Jacobs’ I AM A DREAMER WHO NO LONGER DREAMS

SING OUT STRONG: Immigrant Voices has partnered with the Immigrant Learning Center … Immigrant Voices is matching new or first-generation immigrant writers who live in Massachusetts with composers who are also new or first-generation immigrants, or who strongly identify with the immigrant experience. The resulting songs will be presented both throughout the community and to mainstage audiences, bridging the gulf that typically exists between a company’s operatic productions and its community and educational outreach activities.

You make a difference to many moms

Juan Yan came to the United States with her husband and young daughter to be closer to her in-laws nearly 10 years ago. She was a manager in a retail store in China, but since coming to this country she has concentrated on raising her children. She has three, one born in China and two born here. Once her children reached school-age, Juan Yuan could concentrate on her own education and career.

She came to The Immigrant Learning Center to learn English and study for the citizenship exam. Juan Yan recently became a U.S. citizen and could not be more proud. In March, she found a job at Dunkin Donuts where she can work while her children are in school. Now that she has achieved her goals, she has stopped coming to The ILC, and one of the 800 people on the waiting list can start pursuing their dreams.

Thank you for making stories like this possible through your continued support.







Diane Portnoy
Founder and CEO
The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.

Spotlight on Public Education

In this interview with Re-imagining Migration, The ILC Public Education Institute Director Denzil Mohammed explains our work to support educators and combat mis-information and anti-immigrant bias.

If you’re looking for a Mother’s Day gift on Amazon, start at, and AmazonSmile will donate a portion of your purchase to The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. If you have immigrant heritage, consider donating to The ILC in honor of your mother, and those before her who made life in this country possible.

Coming Attractions

Join us for 18 rounds of golf on Monday June 10, 2019, or just come for the sumptuous dinner at  The ILC 2019 Golf Classic. Either way, you’ll have fun and feel good knowing you’re giving immigrants a voice.

The latest free webinar from The ILC Public Education Institute, Beyond Partisan: Bridging Divides Across the Immigration Debate, on Wednesday, May 8, 2019,  features experts sharing the national landscape of immigration opinion, the messages that resonate best with Americans and strategies for building coalitions across political lines.

The Immigrant Learning Center®, Inc. (ILC) of Malden, MA, is a not-for-profit organization that gives immigrants a voice in three ways. The English Language Program provides free, year-round English classes to immigrant and refugee adults in Greater Boston to help them become successful workers, parents and community members. The Public Education Institute informs Americans about the economic and social contributions of immigrants in our society, and the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture with George Mason University, conducts research on the economic contributions of immigrants.

LittleBits CEO Talks New Disney Partnership, Girls in STEM & Immigrant Entrepreneurship

Founder and CEO Ayah Bdeir launched littleBits in 2011 and has raised more than $60 million in venture capital funding. LittleBits is headquartered in New York City, where Bdeir moved after earning her master’s at MIT’s Media Lab; she’s originally from Beirut, Lebanon.

Seder celebrates contributions of immigrants

It took Esther Karinge 24 years to be granted asylum. She is a teacher’s aide in Medford Public Schools and board member of the Immigrant Learning Center.

DoorDash Launches Kitchens Without Borders to Assist Restaurants Owned by Immigrants and Refugees

“DoorDash’s mission has always been to connect people with possibility by creating valuable opportunities for entrepreneurs to reach new audiences. For immigrant communities facing heightened barriers to success, that goal has become even more important — and for me, it’s at the heart of the company’s story.”

Celebrating Immigrant Business Week in Philadelphia

Immigrants have always been a vital part of Philadelphia’s functioning as a major U.S. city…. According to research from New American Economy, there are more than 683,000 immigrant residents in the Philadelphia Metro Area, with more than 47,000 immigrant entrepreneurs. Furthermore, the research showed that immigrants in the Philadelphia Metro Area paid more than $6 billion in taxes and held more than $17.4 billion in spending power in 2016.

You help her, she helps them, we all benefit

Fatiha left Morocco to join her two adult sons in the United States nine years after her husband died. She had never worked a day in her life outside the home and had very limited education. Since 2017, she has been studying in The Immigrant Learning Center’s Literacy Program. She comes to class in the afternoon and works at the YMCA from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. Starting this January, she’s been volunteering for the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program in Malden one weekend a month. Thanks to you, Fatiha is learning to read, write, listen and speak in English. Thanks to Fatiha, community members get to enjoy a clean YMCA, and others less fortunate than she get some help putting food on the table.

I love this story because it illustrates two traits all immigrants share: the courage to start over and the contributions they make to their new communities. By supporting The ILC, you support her, and she supports others. Everything we do has a ripple effect. Last week’s attacks in New Zealand reminded me of this in a most tragic way. From the Battle of Lexington in 1775 to the latest Twitter war, Americans have always had an impact on the world. I explored this on The ILC blog in a post called Shots Heard Round the World. I would be honored if you would take a moment to read it.

Thank you for everything you do to make the world a better place.







Diane Portnoy
Founder and CEO
The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.

Student Businesses

You may have heard that immigrants are highly entrepreneurial. It’s true, and our students are no exception. Check out the selection of The ILC student-run businesses on our website.

The Immigrant Learning Center®, Inc. (ILC) of Malden, MA, is a not-for-profit organization that gives immigrants a voice in three ways. The English Language Program provides free, year-round English classes to immigrant and refugee adults in Greater Boston to help them become successful workers, parents and community members. The Public Education Institute informs Americans about the economic and social contributions of immigrants in our society, and the Institute for Immigration Research, a joint venture with George Mason University, conducts research on the economic contributions of immigrants.

Shots heard round the world

Diane Portnoy
The ILC Founder and CEO

The Battle of Lexington in 1775 sparked the American Revolution and became famous for the “shot heard round the world.” At that time, it could take months for news to travel, and yet that revolution, our revolution, had a profound impact on the rest of the world that continues to this day. Nowadays, news travels almost instantaneously. The tragic massacre that occurred in New Zealand last week was broadcast in real-time and could be heard and seen as it happened by anyone with an internet connection anywhere in the world. In the days since, I’ve seen a number of people try to isolate themselves from this incident, saying this was an isolated act by a sick individual with no one to blame but the shooter. Today more than ever, none of us is truly isolated. For better or worse, events around the world impact and are impacted by us.

Americans were impacted by this attack that occurred more than 9,000 miles away. Within hours, worshipers in Boston reported being afraid to attend Friday prayers. In cities across the country from Boston to New York, Detroit, Chicago and beyond, law enforcement officials stepped up security at mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship. The rise of White Nationalism in the United States is mirrored by increases in racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia around the globe.

It is no coincidence that attacks on both synagogues and mosques are on the rise. Just two days after the shooting in New Zealand, police in Fall River, MA, discovered a Jewish cemetery had been defamed with swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti.The Anti-Defamation League documented anti-Semitic incidents at an all-time high in the U.S. The American Civil Liberties Union reports that existing and proposed mosque sites across the country have been targeted for vandalism and other criminal acts, and there have been efforts to block or deny necessary zoning permits for the construction and expansion of other facilities. Similar spikes in aggression toward religious groups are occurring throughout the world. While Muslims and Jews are often pitted against each other, both groups have historically been targeted and scapegoated as “the other.” That is why Jewish groups were quick to support the Al Noor and Deans Avenue mosques, and why the Muslim American community raised more than $150,000 for the victims of the mass shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh just five months earlier.

As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, I take this personally. Bigotry has always existed, but our tolerance for it waxes and wanes. I know how dangerous it is when we as a society allow bigotry to go unchallenged. I have also seen first-hand the power of our shared humanity to take us from stranger to friend, and it gives me hope. At The Immigrant Learning Center, strangers from around the world enter a classroom. They come speaking different languages, from different cultures, practicing different religions and carrying their own pre-existing biases. After a few months together learning the skills they need to survive and thrive in their new home, they see they are in this together and start to view each other as family. The truth is, we are all in this together. At The ILC, we are doing what we can to help everyone understand this. The ILC Public Education Institute is dedicated to helping Americans understand that immigrants are assets to this country, and together we can continue to make it better and better for everyone.

What we do, as Americans, as humans, impacts others. There is no neutral existence. Each of us must decide what kind of impact we want to have.

Hospitals welcome foreign nurses, doctors to fill personnel shortage

Immigrants make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, according to a June 2016 report by the Institute for Immigration Research at George Mason University and the Immigrant Learning Center, the latest from the organizations. Immigrants make up 28 percent of physicians and surgeons, 40 percent of medical scientists in manufacturing research and development, more than 50 percent of medical scientists in biotechnology in states with a strong biotechnology sector and 22 percent of nursing, psychiatric and home health aides and 15 percent of registered nurses, according to the report.

Black History Month

Karen Glover
Director of Communications

We at The Immigrant Learning Center strive to inform Americans about the economic and social contributions of immigrants in our society. In honor of Black History Month, we are highlighting some Black immigrants that influenced, and are still influencing, the national conversation in this country.


George McKay, Author/ Journalist, 1889 – 1948

Claude McKay is famous for inspiring the Harlem Renaissance, a prominent literary movement of the 1920s. A prolific author, he wrote his first poem at the age of ten. He arrived in South Carolina from Jamaica in 1912 and published his first poems in 1917. His most famous poem, If We Must Die, was published in 1919 during “Red Summer,” a period of intense racial violence against Black people. Although he was known for the directness with which he wrote of racial issues, this poem spoke to resistance movements worldwide, and was even quoted by Winston Churchill during World War II. McKay’s most successful novel, Home to Harlem, gained recognition as the first commercially successful novel by a Black writer. Current scholars recognize him as a fixture of African-American studies. His last novel, Amiable With Big Teeth, was published posthumously in 2017.

Kwame Ture (born Stokely Carmichael), Civil Rights Activist / Author, 1941–1998

Ture came to the United States from Trinidad and Tobago at age 11 and he became a U.S. citizen at the age of 13. While a student at Howard University, Ture was jailed for 49 days in Jackson Mississippi for his participation in one of the first Freedom Rides. Being only 19, he was the youngest Freedom Rider to be imprisoned. Undeterred, he stayed active in Freedom Rides and demonstrations before obtaining his degree in philosophy with honors in 1964. In 1965, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) sent him to “Bloody Lowndes” County, Alabama, which was famous for lynchings. Although the population was 80 percent Black, there was only one Black registered voter. In one year, Ture managed to raise the number of registered Black voters to exceed the number of White voters by 300. In 1970, that original Black registered voter, John Hulett, was elected sheriff. Ture became the chairman of SNCC, and in 1966 led a group of volunteers in the March Against Fear. It was there he coined the phrase “Black Power.” In his 1968 book with Charles V. Hamilton, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation, the term is defined as, ”a call for black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community. It is a call for black people to define their own goals, to lead their own organizations.” He and Hamilton are also credited with coining the phrase institutional racism in that same book.

Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, Author / Activist / Educator, 1977 –

Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
Photo taken by Suzanne Plunkett at Chatham House London Conference, June 2018

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an award-winning, bestselling the author and MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow whose work has been translated into more than 30 languages. Her work, tackles themes such as politics, religion and love in contexts such as the Nigerian civil war, the immigrant experience in the United States and feminism. At the age of 19, Adichie left Nigeria for a scholarship in the United States. She graduated summa cum laude in communication and political science from Eastern Connecticut State University and went on to earn master’s degrees in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University and African Studies from Yale University, all while writing and publishing. Most American student between 14 and 22 have been assigned her work. Adichie has been invited to speak around the world. Her 2009 TED Talk, The Danger of A Single Story, is now one of the most-viewed TED Talks of all time. Her 2012 talk We Should All Be Feminists has been viewed more than 2 million times, started a worldwide conversation about feminism, and was published as a book in 2014. In Sweden, it was distributed to every 16-year-old high-school student. Parts of the speech were even featured in Beyoncé’s song Flawless. Adichie’s most recent book, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, was published in March 2017.


Since its founding, the United States has benefited significantly from the contributions of Black people.
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Because of the legacy of slavery, voluntary Black immigration is a relatively recent, although growing, development. Immigrants from Africa were among the fastest-growing groups within the U.S. foreign-born population from 2000 to 2009. The Census Bureau projects by 2060 the share of Black Americans who are immigrants will rise to 16.5 percent. That means we will continue to look forward to important economic and social contributions from both native- and foreign-born Black Americans.