May 2012

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liveIn the Moment Bringing a painful personal experience and a message of hope to the stage Get Inspired This Mother's Day! Hear more about Yosef's story along with readings from 11 other inspiring, eloquent and hilarious authors at Listen to Your Mother, this Mother's Day at the Barrymore Theatre. Visit listentoyourmother- for more. "When I got out of prison I promised I would tell my story," Asmeret Yosef says gently. Looking at the 40-year-old na- with clarity, and even humor, Yosef details the "disaster" that pulled her apart from her family. It's one she'll be sharing with a Madison audience at the annual Listen to Your Mother showcase, a collection of local authors reading from personal works about motherhood set for Mother's Day. It was nearly 12 years ago that Yosef just the beginning. In a heartbreaking saga she recounts tive of the small African nation of Eritrea, now a nursing assis- tant and mother of three, they're not the words you expect to hear. Prison? But that, it turns out, was with Asmeret Yosef arrived in the U.S. She did everything right—getting an immigration lawyer and applying for political asylum. But years later, after marrying, starting a family, and applying for a green card, she discov- ered her lawyer had failed to properly close her original case. Th e verdict? She was arrested and would be deported—indefi - nitely separating her from her daughters who were just 1 and 3 years old. After three years of waging a costly legal battle from Eritrea, she was allowed back into the U.S. and reunited with her chil- dren, who no longer recognized her. To- day, Yosef has channeled the emotional experience into a simple mission: to share her story so that others will learn a lesson in optimism and perseverance. "Sometimes I don't want to talk about it, because it hurts so much," she says. "But I didn't go through this for nothing." During her ordeal, writing became Yo- sef's reprieve. Today, she has begun to pen what she hopes will become a memoir. For now, a simple stage, microphone and au- dience are her platform. "I want to show that if I could survive prison and being deported, I could do any- thing," she explains. "[And] help others remember that no matter what happens, they can survive, too." May 2012 11 Photo by Shanna Wolf

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