Photo: Nael Hafeez

Nicholas U.


24, Coordinator at a Local Educational Nonprofit
Orange County, CA

A couple of years ago I traveled with my family to Ellis Island where I was able to access the official Arrival Records for my great grandmother’s ship. The document stated the port of origin where she had begun her long and strenuous voyage to America: Gothenburg, Sweden. She was only twenty-Three years old and had traveled alone. Her first job after settling in the Midwest? Plucking feathers off chickens at a slaughterhouse down the road.

Why did your family come to the United States? No doubt for many complicated reasons, but the most important one was this: to make a better life for themselves in a different part of the world.

What would the U.S. be missing out on if you or your people were banned? The swedes make a mean coffee cake. Also, Scandinavian crime fiction (read: Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson).