In this new blog series, we'll be introducing you to members of the Library's Welcome to America Team.
Today, we're excited to introduce you to Amy M., who "loves Thai green curry, wants to travel EVERYWHERE, and enjoys music that infuses reggae and calypso."
Can you tell us about yourself?
Hi! My name is Amy and I am a young adult librarian. I grew up in the Midwest and have a layered background in business, nonprofit, education, and retail. I’ve always enjoyed working with people. I joined the Welcome to America Team when I was at Flowing Wells Library in 2014. One of my favorite memories is the outreach we did at World Refugee Day at Catalina High School.
My dad was an immigrant and came to America at the age of 16 with his 18 year old sister and 14 year old brother on the boat. My dad was one of ten children and my grandma Annie wanted a better life for her children. I know my dad had some struggles fitting in with having dwarfism and a “weird” accent, which he ended up losing on purpose—I've always thought that was a shame. I’ve learned so much being part of the team.
My dad and my mother both had achondroplasia dwarfism and I inherited the dwarf gene from my father and my average size gene from my mother. Basically, my long bones are short bones. I also have spinal stenosis, but thankfully have been connected to specialists through our national social support organization, Little People of America, opens a new window. My parents met through LPA and had me and my brother. They also adopted my sister from India and my brother from San Diego. My father helped start our national sports organization, Dwarf Athletic Association of America, opens a new window, which I've been a part of since its formation. I've also served as a board member and president. My dwarfism and involvement in our national sports organization has also enabled me to be part of international sport, including being part of team USA for both swimming (trying out for the ’96 Atlantic Olympics) and team USA for field events. October is Dwarfism Awareness Month since Billy Barty's, the founder of LPA, birthday was in October. I’ve helped spread awareness in my daily life as well as special themed Storytimes.
What is/are your favorite books featuring immigrant and/or refugee characters?
What immigrant/refugee fictional character do you most admire?
What have you learned working on the Welcome to America Team?
I have learned so much. What immigrants and refugees have to go through today is much harder than it used to be. My dad came from England with two of his siblings. Even though this journey was challenging, it was less arduous because he was sponsored by his brother-in-law. It was comparatively easier than what a lot of immigrants experience today.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Anywhere? I would travel EVERYWHERE! Ok if I can’t take a trip and just go everywhere my top choices would be: a Mediterranean tour, Africa & India, Australia and New Zealand, and the northern lights & north pole.
What is your favorite international cuisine?
Thai food, including Tom Kha Gai soup, Thai green curry, and pad thai. Since there are so many yummy ingredients that I don’t necessarily have I usually get these at a restaurant.
Is there a world music you enjoy?
Tropical house, but I like a lot of different types of music that infuse reggae and calypso too. I also grew up liking Bob Marley and Europop like ABBA, Roxette, t.A.T.u, Aqua, Ace of Base, and Eiffel 65 when I was younger.
If you could share one thing with immigrant and refugee communities, what would it be?
We welcome you. The library is for you. We have something for everyone.
What do you hope people understand about the immigrant and refugee experience?
That immigrants and refugees go through and overcome so much and are incredibly resilient. We can learn a lot from them.