Arts & Entertainment

Irvington Town Hall Theater to Produce Second Diversity Series Event Focusing on Immigration

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The ITHT Commission, which oversees the historic 117-year-old, 432-seat theater in Irvington Town Hall, has announced the details of its second diversity event of the season, “Lift the Lamp: Immigrant Stories,” which will be held at the theater on Friday, February 22, at 7:30 p.m.

Lift the Lamp,” the second of three diversity-related events the ITHT will present under its Irvington Theater Presents banner in the 2018-2019 theater season, will feature five immigrant speakers, with the discussion moderated by Rev. Peggy Clarke, the minister of the First Unitarian Society of Westchester in Hastings-on-Hudson.

“The event is designed to show the diverse makeup of the United States and the unique stories immigrants have about their journeys to this country and their experiences once they are here,” said Kim Gilligan, the ITHT commissioner heading up the series.

Admission to “Lift the Lamp” is free. Speakers will include Lisa Genn, a graduate of Columbia University and the NYU School of Law who emigrated from the former Soviet Union; Niurka Melendez, a computer scientist turned community organizer who recently came to the United States from Venezuela; Reshad Ahmadi, a civil engineer from Afghanistan who arrived in the United States in 2017 on a Special Immigration Visa; Donny Kahn, a marketing executive for the National Hockey League who emigrated to the United States from Pakistan with his family when he was 14; and Michael Gyory, an Irvington resident, who is the son of Hungarian Holocaust survivors. He will share the story of their plight during World War II and their struggle to get into America.

“My story is about a 14-year-old who moved to the U.S. without his family, fell in love with the game of hockey, and has had the amazing good fortune to work at the NHL,” Kahn said. “And, my story is also about seeing Pakistan’s political transformation in the late 70s and early 80s, which, sadly, has some similarities to the current political climate in our great country.”

Gilligan said that while the diversity series and “Lift the Lamp” fit into the commission’s vision of the role of the theater in the community, these events are also meant to be as entertaining as they are informative.

“Lift the Lamp” follows the tremendously successful first event in the series, “My Identity Is Not Your Opinion,” which focused on the stories of transgender and nonbinary individuals. For more information on “Lift the Lamp,” visit

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