March 12, 2019

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Washington Performing Arts and NYU DC convened immigration policy experts and civic leaders who examined contemporary issues in U.S. immigration policy since the 1980s, and led a discussion of the role of state and local government in supporting immigrants as federal policies have shifted over time. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, fiftheenth term as the Congresswoman for the District of Columbia and Chair of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, gave the opening remarks.

The panel included David Grosso, Councilmember at-Large, Council of the District of Columbia, Lori Kaplan, Former President & CEO, Latin American Youth Center, Mary Ann Gomez Orta, President & CEO, Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, Laura Vazquez, Senior Program Manager, Immigration Initiatives, UnidosUS, and Nicholas A. Brown, Director of Special Productions & Initiatives, Washington Performing Arts, who served as moderator for the evening.

This conversation was presented in conjunction with the premiere of Washington Performing Arts’ co-commission Dreamers, a new oratorio by composer Jimmy López and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz on March 17, 2019 at Sidney Harman Hall (via simulcast). Dreamers explores contemporary stories of Latinx so-called dreamers who are caught in the middle of the current national immigration policy debate.


Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, now in her fiftheenth term as the Congresswoman for the District of Columbia, is the Chair of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. She serves on two committees: the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Before her congressional service, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to serve as the first woman to chair the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She came to Congress as a national figure who had been a civil rights and feminist leader, tenured professor of law, and board member at three Fortune 500 companies. Congresswoman Norton has been named one of the 100 most important American women in one survey and one of the most powerful women in Washington in another. The Congresswoman's work for full congressional voting representation and for full democracy for the people of the District of Columbia continues her lifelong struggle for universal human and civil rights.

Nicholas Brown

Nicholas Brown

David Grosso

David Grosso

Lori Kaplan

Lori Kaplan

Mary Ann Gomez Orta

Mary Ann Gomez Orta

Laura Vazquez

Laura Vazquez

Co-presented with NYU DC and the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute.

This event is part of Washington Performing Arts’ global programming initiative, The World in Our City: Latinx in D.C., which provides perspective on what it means to be a citizen of the world through a unique arts-based lens.

Washington Performing Arts’ Mars Urban Arts Initiative is generously supported by Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated. This program is made possible by Tom Gallagher, in honor of Turnaround Inc.; Events DC; Fred and Lucia Hill; and Gary and Silvia Yacoubian.