During the Toronto LEW, there were many aspects of Toronto that I found to be quite remarkable. One of the places we were taken to was a neighborhood not far from downtown Toronto near the Don Valley where recent immigrants were settled on their way to integration with life in Ontario and Canada. I was moved by the efforts Toronto and Canada were making to welcome new immigrants, as were many other LEW visitors who were shown this area of Toronto.
Just this past week, I received an email about a film entry into the competition at the Sundance Film Festival about four families from Syria who were settled in Baltimore, and whose lives and struggles as new candidates for American citizenship were depicted in a film, “This is Home”. Baltimore has been the brunt of much criticism from national officials in Washington and elsewhere as a result of its choice to be a Sanctuary City. Many here believe that, given our personal family stories as immigrants, the Baltimore region will prosper as a result of new immigrants settling here. This is a story of the daunting future faced by four families from Syria. It is a story of hope and joy, exhibited by families whose lives suffered greatly from the events in Syria which forced them from their homes. It’s a story that makes many of us proud to be Marylanders and Baltimoreans. Take a look, I think you will understand why.
James S. Leanos