Box 189

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact John Renjilian, 203-426-0864


Immigration, walls, intense vetting, all are hot button topics in today’s America. On September 10, at 7.30 PM, in the community room of the C H Booth Library, the Newtown Historical Society, in conjunction with the Library, will present “Coming to America,” the stories of four Newtown residents that arrived here from Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Sometimes the routes were circuitous, the motives varied, and all will share their experiences with the audience.

The United States has often been called a “nation of immigrants,” but our history is more complicated than that. We have always had a love-hate relationship with immigration. Kevin Jennings, President of the Tenement Museum in New York. will provide the historical context for today’s debates over immigration, tracing how American attitudes and policies have fluctuated even going back to colonial days.

Helga Maier has lived in the U.S. since 1986. Her story is not the typically one of escape from political or economical turmoil in her home country, coming to America to create a new life for herself. Rather, it is because of her faith that she felt compelled to come and work here to make a difference. At an age when most of us feel we want to change the world, Helga was given an opportunity to impact lives in other countries and she still holds herself to that challenge. She has been a permanent resident of the United States since 1988..

Sabeena Ali has a mixed background from Canada and Pakistan. She and her husband Iftikhar moved back to Canada in 1993, and came to the United States in 1995, moving to this area in 1996. The couple became citizens in 2007, and are raising their three daughters to follow their dreams and aspirations.

Neil Randle was born in Kenya, and his family moved to England soon after. He was first attracted to the United States as a 12-year-old, on hearing Bruce Springsteen singing about the “Swamps of New Jersey!” The attraction stayed with him into adulthood, when Neil got a job working for Dove soap. A few years later he met the purchasing manager for Dove Fragrance, who actually lived in New Jersey; after their marriage, Neil was able to commute on the NJ Turnpike driving himself through the long fascinating Jersey swamps. Eventually, the Springsteen moment passed, and Neil and his wife Donna now live in Sandy Hook with their twins.

All Newtown Historical Society programs are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served following the program. For further information please call the Society at 203-426-5937, or visit the website at