Christian University in Oregon Selects 'Enrique's Journey' Book to Promote Discussion about Diversity, Immigration

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Copies of book will be distributed to all new students at George Fox University this fall.

Students joining the George Fox University campus this year will all receive a book, “Enrique’s Journey,” intended to promote discourse about diversity on campus and the issue of immigration law in the U.S.

The book by award-winning journalist Sonia Nazario chronicles the true story of a Honduran boy who braves hardship and peril to reach his mother in the United States. It relates the odyssey of Enrique, who, at 5 years old, sees his mother Lourdes leave Honduras to work in the United States. The move allows her to send money back home to Enrique so he can eat better and go to school past the third grade.

Lourdes promises Enrique she will return quickly, but she struggles in America. After 11 years pass, he decides he will try to find her, and he makes the dangerous and illegal trek up the length of Mexico the only way he can – clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains.

The purpose of selecting a common book for first-year students is to create a common academic experience, according to Joel Perez, George Fox’s dean of transitions and inclusions.”

“We selected ‘Enrique's Journey’ to promote discourse about an area of diversity – in this case, the issue of immigrants coming to the U.S., and more specifically, young immigrants,” Perez said. “Similar to the 14th Amendment panel we hosted in the spring, we want to facilitate discourse that will educate people and model civil discourse about an issue that tends to divide our country: illegal immigration.”

The academic committee that selected the book also believed it would help the university live out its core value of “engaging globally and connecting culturally,” Perez said. During orientation in late August, George Fox will host a session to explore the theme of the book. In addition, the school’s first-year seminars will use either all or part of the book to facilitate discussion. There are plans to use the book in writing courses as well.

The selection comes after the university hosted a panel discussion in March entitled “The Future of the 14th Amendment,” which discussed the implications concerning that section of the 14th Amendment that states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.” The event was held in commemoration of the life of Cesar Chavez, a Mexican American who was among the best-known Latino civil rights activists during the 1960s and 1970s.

As part of its goal to further diversify its campus population, George Fox offers the Act Six leadership and scholarship initiative, an urban scholarship program for minorities. Launched by the Portland Leadership Foundation, Act Six seeks to develop urban leaders to be agents of transformation on campus and in their home communities. Since the program’s inception, four cadres of ethnically diverse and mostly first-generation, low-income Act Six scholars from urban Portland have enrolled at George Fox.

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes as the top Christian college in the Pacific Northwest and among the top three Christian colleges in the country. George Fox is the only Christian university in the Pacific Northwest classified by U.S. News & World Report as a first tier national university. More than 3,400 students attend classes on the university’s campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem, and Redmond, Ore., and Boise, Idaho. George Fox offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, five seminary degrees, and 11 master’s and doctoral degrees.

Joel Perez
Dean of Transitions and Inclusions


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