THE AMERICAN DREAM"
A collection of immigrant stories over three generations
Institute on the American Dream at
Penn State Erie, The Behrend College is collecting information and materials to
be used in a special video project entitled Erie and the American Dream.
purpose of this project will be to examine various aspects of the immigrant
experience in Erie, and to explore how particular circumstances affect an
individual's understanding of and/or ability to achieve the "American
Dream." The video will include
a series of interviews with a small number of families in the region, and will
encompass the perspectives of 3 generations (more, if possible).
A wide range of factors such as language, education, cultural values,
ethnicity, and economic stability will be considered as they relate to the
experiences of the immigrant families.
of the specific topics to be addressed in this project include: the dreams and
expectations of the first generation in coming to the United States; the
different opportunities and hardships encountered by each generation--were any
of these issues specific to Erie?; the hopes of each generation for the future;
and finally, how/if the definition of the "American Dream" changed
from generation to generation, or changed over time for the individuals
themselves. Another very important
aspect of this project will be to examine the idea of the "American
Dream" itself--what is the definition of "success" in the United
States?; is it achievable by all?; are there social/government institutions that
help some while preventing others from attaining the "Dream?"
goals for this project are twofold: first, we hope to present a realistic view
of the challenges and triumphs of immigrants in the Erie area. What we learn
from this endeavor will not only help us understand the enormous odds against
which most immigrants struggle, but will give us a better appreciation of their
achievements and contributions to the local community. Second, we hope to gain a
better understanding of the ideals and institutions that at once make the United
States both a land of enormous opportunity and a land of dramatic inequalities.
project is being conducted in partnership with Penn State Erie, The Behrend
College, the International Institute
of Erie, and the Erie County
Historical Society and Museum.
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