Last week, on one of those unseasonably warm early winter days, we had the
good fortune of taking a “hard hat” tour that was part of a program organized by, Save Ellis Island, a non profit foundation.
A year ago, JR., the French street artist extraordinaire, was commissioned
by the National Park service to place photographs of early immigrants around several abandoned buildings that made up the hospital complex at Ellis Island.
The “ghost” images from 100 years ago create a powerful depiction of the millions who passed through this portal to American citizenship with hope, dignity and some trepidation.
The ferry ride over was filled with tourists from around the world coming to visit this iconic location. It pained me to think of what this place has symbolized, and how today, refugees in similar circumstances face such enormous obstacles to be welcomed here.
Hats off to Justin Trudeau and our northern neighbors for a lesson in human compassion.
All photos ©Ken Brown