Esther Wainer and Emma Lazarus.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s shithole remark there once again is attention to Emma Lazarus’ poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty.
Emma Lazarus was not herself an immigrant. But her name and poem will always be connected to the welcoming of immigrants, a counter balance to the history of racial bias and quotas that is also part of our immigrant history.
My grandmother, Esther Wainer, was a Jewish socialist, feminist and member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Emma Lazarus Club.
She was not from Norway. She was born in Tsarist Russia.
Hearing Trump’s nativist, racist bile this past week brought back memories of Esther and her association with Emma Lazarus and the group that carried that name.
By the time I became aware of Esther’s activism, she and her Jewish women cohorts were well into their 80s.
Even at that age, I would see them at every Civil Rights and anti-war protest.
Esther would have been Trump’s worst nightmare.