The title for this issue is “Tempest Tossed,” which, as some of you may know, is part of the evocative statement of welcome and U.S. national identity at the base of the Statue of Liberty. The title is particularly apropos not only because this issue focuses on the intersection of immigration and nonprofits but also because much of the nonprofit sector may feel tempest tossed at this point.
NPQ is proud to focus on immigration, which combines a human-rights emphasis with a community-building sensibility. And indeed, the history of the nonprofit sector is bound up with immigration—both forced and freely chosen—because the history of this country is as well. Immigrants have come to the United States in waves, fleeing repression or pursuing a dream. But perversely and almost from the start, those that came to the United States first considered those that came after them as interlopers, invaders, layabouts, and anarchists. As we looked for graphics to illustrate this issue, we found many political cartoons from the last century portraying Irish, Italians, Chinese, Japanese, and Africans as dangerous, dumb, and diseased.
Today’s conservative talk radio offers the same messages. Immigrants are potential terrorists and people looking for a handout; they are the “other than us” folk that threaten our “American” way of life. NPQ can provide an effective counterweight to xenophobia-filled airwaves and policies that force communities into underground isolation through thoughtful action in our programming, our advocacy, and our alliances.
Thus, the focus of this issue—which attempts to provide NPQ readers with an understanding of the state of immigration policy in the United States as well as its effects and what nonprofits can do in response.
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In the end, NPQ sees understanding and working on this issue as core to embracing universal human rights and to a community-building strategy. The settlement houses, our founding institutions, understood this idea. In the names of our grandparents and grandchildren alike, we need to revisit this principle.
This issue features other important articles as well. Woods Bowman addresses nonprofit fears of filing for Chapter 11 and Bill Traynor offers a fresh take on grounded leadership.
Finally, we’d like to extend our deepest thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue. The W. K. Kellogg Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York generously provided the funding for our immigration coverage, and the Barr Foundation supported Bill Traynor’s article “Leadership in a Connected World.” And our deepest thanks to this issue’s authors and artists, many of whom are first generation in this country, and to our exalted research interns Andrea Goezinne and Regina Tavani.
As always, we welcome your feedback.