Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

One Immigrant’s Journey from El Salvador to the United States with Javier Zamora

Air Dates: June 3-9, 2024 

Immigration remains a hot-button in American politics, but Javier Zamora tells the story of his own entry into the United States—a journey and a story that put a human face on the issue.   

Zamora is the author of “SOLITO,” his New York Times bestselling memoir and is the 2024 Reading Across Rhode Island Selection. Born in La Herradura, El Salvador in 1990, his parents fled the country due to the U.S.-funded Salvadoran Civil War from 1980-1992. Zamora was raised by his grandparents until the age of nine when he began his nine-week odyssey to Arizona. His memoir recounts the perilous journey. He is the author of a poetry collection entitled, “Unaccompanied.” He holds fellowships from CantoMundo, Colgate University, MacDowell, Macondo, the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, Stanford University and Yaddo. He is the recipient of a 2017 Lannan Literary Fellowship, the 2017 Narrative Prize and the 2016 Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award for his work in the Undocupoets Campaign. 

On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Zamora describes the challenges of writing “SOLITO” in today’s anti-immigrant political climate. He explains the healing and processing that need to occur prior to and throughout his writing process. He articulates his desire to foster a sense of understanding and sympathy for immigrants through his writing. He says “and my only aim was to show people that immigrants, whether they came here by plane or by land and immigrants from anywhere in the world, not only Latin America, are just as human as you are, the reader or the viewer.” 

“Story in the Public Square” broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. and Mondays at 2:30 a.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a project of the Pell Center at Salve Regina University. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.