Marine Park author Paul Moses will lead a panel discussion about past and present intolerances based on ethnicity, race, and religion at the Carmine Carro Center on March 16.
Detective Roberto Diaz from the city’s new Immigrant Outreach Unit will join Moses for the chat about the hardships and prejudices many immigrant families face.
The insights of Moses’s 2015 book, “An Unlikely Union, the Love-Hate Story of New York’s Irish and Italians,” is especially relevant today, said the president of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association, who is hosting the discussion.
“It’s a very timely book, it addresses these same issues that were occurring a century ago,” said Ed Jaworski. “I think it’s very good, very interesting, very informative — you see a lot of these problems of bias and prejudice were around for a long time, going back into the 1800s.”
Moses’s book follows the evolving relationship between Italian and Irish immigrant families beginning in the 19th century, and how it started off rocky, but the two groups later began to intermarry. The proof is in Moses’s own marriage — he is half-Italian, and his wife is of Irish ancestry, he said.
“That really inspired me to look into the back story,” said Moses, who teaches journalism at Brooklyn College. “We have all these controversies about immigration now, the story remains relevant.”
The panel discussion — enjoyed over coffee and Irish soda bread in honor of St. Patrick’s Day — is open to the public, and Jaworski hopes the neighborhood will come ready to engage in civil discourse about immigration to better understand the difficulties so many face, and see past the stereotypes and fears people have today, he said.
“There’s always been a certain amount of intolerance in this country, and all I could hope is that we break down prejudice — not that we will solve any problems, but at least create an open discussion about it,” said Jaworski. “Maybe neighborhood by neighborhood, take a little piece of different parts of the city and try to have respect and tolerance for each other. Love thy neighbor, right?”
And Moses will be selling newly released paperback versions of his book for $15 a pop, he said.
Paul Moses at the Carmine Carro Center [3000 Fillmore Avenue at Marine Parkway in Marine Park, (718) 375–9158] March 16 at 7:30 pm. Free.