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Scranton Stories: Meet Ana Monge and Jenny Gonzalez Monge image
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May 23, 2024
Scranton Stories: Meet Ana Monge and Jenny Gonzalez Monge
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Scranton Stories is an oral history video series featuring 33 people who have lived or worked in the city of Scranton. The videos are part of the broader Scranton’s Story, Our Nation’s Story project, a community-wide exploration along themes of history, belonging, and identity. DiscoverNEPA will share their unique, personal “Scranton Story” in the lead-up to the 250th anniversary of the United States in 2026.

Mother and Daughter Share Their "Scranton Story" Experience

Ana Monge came to Scranton from New York – after arriving first to Los Angeles from El Salvador – to find work, and to offer a better life to her daughter, Jenny. At that time, the young family was among the early wave of Scranton immigrants from Latin America. Lacking documents, Ana’s immigration status threatened their family unity on a daily basis. Her arrest by immigration agents at her beloved workplace, New York Pizza Kitchen (where Starbucks is currently located in the Marketplace at Steamtown), terrified the family, but eventually led Ana to procuring her citizenship with the help of the Catholic Social Services.

Being bilingual and the oldest child, Jenny was responsible for translating conversations for her parents even at a young age. She recalls being called “a foreigner” due to her physical appearance in school, despite being a U.S. citizen born in New York. Both recount experiences of racism and hostility against them at times. While her parents worked, Jenny pursued an education and began a career in social services, choosing to stay in Scranton to raise her own daughter and to advocate for and with local immigrant communities.