Tag Archives: Adolphe Bernotas

Retiree Adolphe Bernotas sees Statue of Liberty through refugee’s eyes

Adolphe refugee pic

The Bernotas family, shown in a refugee camp apartment in Munich around 1950. Retired Members Council Chair Adolphe Bernotas, is at the far left next to his mother.

 

 

Adolphe Bernotas, chair of the Guild’s Retired Members Council, penned a reflection for the Concord Monitor on his experience as a refugee who came to the U.S. as a “displaced person” after World War II.

“As I watch the desperate refugees on the evening news, I think: That’s us 70 years ago,” he wrote. “Same thing, same people. Lots of kindness, much xenophobia. Only the armies change.”

Bernotas recounted his reaction to statements by Pope Francis that he, too, was the child of immigrants. “It occurred to me that I was a foreigner before I was an American, a refugee before I became an immigrant, an immigrant before I became an American.”

LIFE IN THE U.S. AS A REFUGEE

And he recalled a time when at 13, two years after he’d arrived in the states, an adult told him that “DP” meant not “displaced person,” but “dirty pig. You f—ing people came here to take our jobs!”

“I recall that encounter every time politicians bash immigrants,” Bernotas wrote.

Bernotas told of commuting across the Hudson River from Manhattan to the Jersey Journal in the 1960s, and enjoying the views of the Statue of Liberty during the trip. “The attraction for Americans, especially immigrants and children of immigrants, to the Statue is equally obvious and mysterious,” he said. “She is not a mere cornball symbol that models for plastic statues and oil-on-velvet paintings. She has an appeal that’s philosophical, esthetic and visceral. She is not only the American, but also the singular universal symbol of all-embracing welcome.”

Click here to read the full story:

http://www.concordmonitor.com/opinion/18766205-95/my-turn-statue-of-liberty-holds-a-special-place-in-my-immigrant-heart

Legendary AP reporter Bob Thomas also helped found Guild

Legendary Associated Press reporter Bob Thomas, who died at the age of 92, wasn’t merely known for covering a record 66 Oscar ceremonies. He also was a founder of the union that represents AP workers.

Thomas was among the seven founders of the Guild when it was organized at AP, said Lyle Price, a former president of the Wire Service Guild, the previous name of the News Media Guild. The seven signed a statement urging co-staffers to support the vote for the union and said they did so as career AP people who saw it in the staff’s best interests.

“Besides being an AP treasure, Bob Thomas was a treasure for the Wire Service Guild,” said Adolphe Bernotas, a Guild leader who continues to serve the union as a CWA Retired Members’ Council vice president.

In this 1946 file photo, AP reporter Bob Thomas sits with Judy Garland as they watch scenes from the filming of "The Harvey Girls" on the previous day. Thomas also was one of the founders of the Wire Service Guild, the previous name of the News Media Guild. He died Friday, March 14, 2014, at the age of 92. (Photo courtesy of The Associated Press).

In this 1946 file photo, AP reporter Bob Thomas sits with Judy Garland as they watch scenes from the filming of “The Harvey Girls” on the previous day. Thomas also was one of the founders of the Wire Service Guild, the previous name of the News Media Guild. He died Friday, March 14, 2014, at the age of 92. (Photo courtesy of The Associated Press).

Price said he came across the document with Thomas’ name when he was reading through old WSG minutes before becoming a representative on the union’s Representative Assembly.

Thomas died Friday at his home in Encino, Calif., of age-related illnesses, his daughter said.

“Thomas always did his AP columns a few days in advance,” Price recalled. “After the eight-day AP strike (in 1969), which Thomas honored, the AP upped his advance time to eight days, he once told me. He was a very good writer and a very decent human being.”

Thomas is listed twice in Guinness World Records, for most consecutive Academy Awards shows covered by an entertainment reporter and for longest career as an entertainment reporter (1944-2010). In addition to his interviews with famous Hollywood stars, Thomas filed AP’s bulletin that Robert F. Kennedy had been shot.

The WSG began bargaining as a national local in 1958, although the union dates its beginnings to the 1940s. Before 1958, UP and INS (which merged into United Press International in 1958), and AP contracts were negotiated for individual bureaus by the nearest American Newspaper Guild locals.