News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Author shares stories of refugees in Oregon

Portland-based writer, editor, and educator Elizabeth Mehren will present her book "I Lived to Tell the World: Stories from Survivors of Holocaust, Genocide, and the Atrocities of War," at Paulina Springs Books on Thursday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m.

A co-publication with The Immigrant Story, "I Lived to Tell the World" is a collection of thirteen inspiring profiles of refugees who have settled in Oregon.

They come from Rwanda, Myanmar, Bosnia, Syria, and more-different stories, different conflicts, but similar paths through loss and violence to a new, not always easy, life in the United States. The in-depth profiles are drawn from hours of interviews and oral histories; Mehren weaves in historical, cultural, and political context alongside the personal stories.

Together, these portraits of individual courage and tenacity illuminate broader themes such as human cruelty, political tyranny, and hatred based on race and religion. The stories invite readers to take stock of their own life experiences, and to view newcomers to America with new perspective - and with respect. After all, if these survivors of unthinkable human savagery can emerge with a spirit of hope and dignity, so can the rest of us.

"I Lived to Tell the World" shines a light on Oregonians-perhaps even our own neighbors-living purposeful and productive lives despite their painful pasts.

Mehren is a Portland-based writer, editor, and educator. After working at The Washington Post, she became a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and later spent a decade on the faculty at Boston University. Mehren earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at UC Berkeley and has written for national magazines, appeared on television and radio, and received awards for teaching and journalism. "I Lived to Tell the World" is her fifth book.

Founded in 2017 by Sankar Raman, who immigrated to the U.S. from India, The Immigrant Story is a volunteer-run nonprofit with a mission to promote empathy and advance an inclusive community by sharing stories of immigrants and refugees who often overcame tremendous odds to reach the United States. In addition to its multimedia storytelling site, The Immigrant Story has also launched a podcast, worked on public school curriculum, and organized public exhibits.

Paulina Springs Books is located at 252 W. Hood Ave.


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