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Reading to Support Immigrants PA

Tax deductible

I hope you will help me in supporting unaccompanied minors and families that have been separated through this fundraiser for HIAS PA. 

HIAS Pennsylvania provides legal and supportive services to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers from all backgrounds in order to assure their fair treatment and full integration into American society.

Over the course of the next year, I would like to connect with theatre artists and companies across the country to do readings of a play I wrote, "One Day Old" to raise money for local organizations that help immigrants that have been scattered and separated across the US.

I'm starting in Philadelphia, my artistic home where I am helping to co-found a Latinx Theatre Company, Teatro Del Sol. And where better to begin a year-long journey of social justice for immigrants than in the birth place of US democracy, the city where the Declaration of Independence was drafted, the city where the Liberty Bell lives?

On August 26th at 4:30 pm we will present a reading of One Day Old with a goal of raising $3000 for HIAS PA.  It will be held at The Hamilton Family Arts Center at the Bob and Selma Theatre. 

A donation of $10 or more to this campaign will ensure your entry for one audience member. If you wish to give to the campaign, but cannot attend please just mention that in your donation comments. 

As I connect with other theatres and other organizations throughout the US over the next 12 months, I hope to raise $14,048 for organizations assisting immigrants that have been relocated throughout the country. 
Thanks in advance and to learn more about the play, the mission, and Operacion Pedro Pan, please keep reading. 


Iraisa Ann

About One Day Old and Operacion Pedro Pan

Seven years ago I wrote this play called One Day Old, about Operacion Pedro Pan, which brought 14,048 unaccompanied minors to the United States from Cuba in 1960. The government enacted a law called Patria Potestad, which meant that government owned children, and could seize children from their parents at any time and send them to camps for indoctrination.

Parents who feared losing their children sent them to the United States With the help of the Catholic Welfare Bureau and a priest in Miami named Msgr Brian Walsh, parents began sending their children to the United States unaccompanied, assuming the government would fall within a matter of months. Children were sent to family members in the US, or settled in homes, orphanages, and temporary camps in 30 states. After the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, it became evident that families would remain separated. Some were reunited with their parents after a few months, some several years, and some never saw their parents again. 

I produced this play in 2016 as a part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Several weeks ago when I saw images of immigrant children who were separated from their parents and put into camps, I thought of the "Pancitos" that I interviewed and learned about.  For so many, their childhood ended the day that they left Cuba, the day that they were separated from their parents. 

Seeing those children also made me think of my own family who came to the United States in the early 1960s. As a playwright I have chosen a life of storytelling, where the hope is that those stories will inspire a world that is empathetic and compassionate. I don't have the expertise or ability to reunite these families, but I can support organizations like HIAS who do; I can inspire compassion by telling the story of yesterday's unaccompanied immigrant children, in hopes that that story will help the new wave of immigrants seeking asylum within the United States. 

Thanks. and hope to see you at the reading. If you are interested in helping to organize a reading of One Day Old in your community, please contact me through the contact form on this campaign.


Iraisa Ann Reilly
Philadelphia, PA
HIAS Pennsylvania (HIAS Pennsylvania)

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