Klodian Beqiri, Phillips Academy Class of 2014
Hello. I wanted to start off this introduction by thanking everyone that came here, especially the people of Movement City who have been helping us every step of the way in accomplishing this final project, the Lawrence High School students, César Sánchez who has been incredibly inspirational, and Cuchillero the killer (a nickname he earned in the winter term while reading one of his epic poems) for his tremendous passion in putting this class together. I’d like to introduce my self. I am Klodian Beqiri, and I am a four year senior at Phillips academy. I am an immigrant from Albania, but I live in Peabody and have been living there for about 11 years now.
Coming to a democratic nation as large as the US from a rural village in northeastern Albania was a huge culture shock for both my parents and I. The first few years were difficult because we started our lives from nothing: we lived in a small apartment secluded from the rest of society because we didn’t speak the language or even understand the culture that was present here. But as the years went by and I began to assimilate more and more into the American way of life, I still felt like a big part of my identity was missing. I still felt like I didn’t belong because no one could really understand the experience immigrants went through when they first arrived in the US. This was a big reason of why I wanted to take this class. Winter term, for many of my classmates, was an incredible experience because it allowed many of us to tear down the little walls we had been barricaded in throughout our lives and enter a completely different world that is literally next to ours. But for me, this class meant more because it enabled me to meet other people, especially the students at LHS, who shared a similar experience and overcame similar struggles after immigrating to the US.
I think that this final video project beautifully captured the true spirit of the immigrant city and the inhabitants that live in it. Lawrence is a place that embodies what the US stands for for many immigrants who come here. It is a place that continues to prove the american dream is still alive, a place where immigrants stumble and fall, but keep getting back up again and keep rising ever higher. My grandfather told me before I left for the US: “don’t get stuck in the past, but never forget the land and the people you left behind.” I think his words beautifully capture the ideals that define Lawrence: the people here continue to preserve their native heritage while at the same time adapt to a new way of life. It is this mixture of cultures that will enable them to keep pushing and soaring every higher.