February 11, 2015 marked the launch of the fourth Mission US digital role-playing game. This series of free online games is created to engage middle and high school students in the exploration and understanding of U.S. history. “City of Immigrants” supports the study of immigration, the labor movement, and cultural identity in the American History curriculum. Players take on the role of Lena Brodsky, a Russian Jewish teen who has immigrated to New York City in 1907. As Lena makes the Lower East Side her home, she struggles to help support her family and finds herself in the middle of the growing labor movement.
As young people play “City of Immigrants,” they gain important insights into the struggle for safe working conditions, fair wages, and the right to bargain collectively. At the same time, they experience the challenges of cultural differences, assimilation, and prejudice. Players will interact with a variety of characters, from factory supervisors to family and religious leaders, who all had roles in creating America’s labor movement and strong communities in New York. As they assume the role of Lena, players must decide: Does she dare speak up and stand up for workers’ rights? Can she continue to support her family? Players will make choices and experience the consequences of those choices – the same choices immigrants grappled with as they made their way in the United States.