“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” recited Leah Ronen, the executive director of the Augusta Jewish Federation and Community Center.
They are lines from the sonnet The New Colossus, written by Jewish poet Emma Lazarus, inscribed on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
This month, Lazarus is the subject of three weeks’ worth of events to be held at the community center, starting Sunday.
The center was chosen by the American Library Association Public Programs Office as one of 18 sites across the country to hold Emma Lazarus: Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscience.
The traveling exhibit of the poet’s life and work is presented in partnership with Netbook Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Jewish literature and art.
People know Lazarus as a poet, but through the exhibit, they’ll also come to see her as an activist, feminist and champion of the poor, refugees and immigrants.
“She worked tirelessly for the rights of immigrants,” Ronen said. “She believed very firmly in liberty and justice for all.”