Emma Lazarus Project

The Emma Lazarus Project explores the story of Emma Lazarus, a fifth-generation American Jew caught in an important turning point in American and Jewish History. The initiative—including an exhibit, curriculum and poetry contest—uses primary sources straight from the archive to encourage students to piece together Emma’s fascinating story, and to join the ongoing conversation about American identity.

Come and Belong

by Angelique Sarofim

Middle School



Her watching eyes have gazed upon the progress of a century and then some.

Those eyes of bottle green, boundlessly bold,

Forever watching the changes of a nation.

Tell us, Ms. Liberty,

What do you harbor in those thoughts that remain hidden from the world?

Give us a glimpse into your America.

We’ve heard tell of this land of the free,

A place where all can be all they can be.

A sanctuary of sorts,

Where anyone and everyone can come and belong.

Come and belong,

You echo so strongly, we can almost hear it.

The answer to our query!

These words saturate the air, seeping into the lungs of all who walk the streets of the States,

Like a thick welcoming fog that envelops you,

Becomes a part of you.

Come and belong.

These words are silently heard in the people here.

They radiate it in their compassion towards one another,

As they become unified in celebrating what makes them different.

A beautiful irony, isn’t it?

Such is America.

Such is Lady Liberty,

Silently shouting her siren’s song:

Come and belong.

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