This page is devoted to the song
“To Carry On: An Anthem of the American Immigrant Experience”

Producer’s Note from Mark Ethan Toporek

It was after the 2016 presidential election that I realized TO CARRY ON also speaks directly to our charged political moment, when reservoirs of hope are needed–whether for Syrian refugees, deportable immigrants, or broken-hearted Americans. TO CARRY ON is a song about inspiration and inclusivity. My hope is to widen the circle – to present the song in a way that stays true to its origins while encompassing individuals from other countries and cultures.  

An Anthem

I see the song as a kind of synthesis of ‘Born In The USA’ and ‘We Are The World’: a person who embraces becoming an American is already on the road to being ‘Reborn in the USA.’ The video is dedicated to the more than 27,000 DACA recipients who have been frontline healthcare workers during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Origins of the Song

“Carry On” was written by Celina Levy, originating in a workshop back in 1995. It was created by the descendants (including me) of Holocaust survivors and resulted in the theater piece, “Children Of.”  We presented it at the US Holocaust Memorial in Washington, as well as schools and museums for a few years. I never forgot the power of the original song that we sang at the conclusion of each performance: CARRY ON encapsulates the pain of loss as well as the regenerative power of the human spirit. It’s a song not only about legacy and remembrance, but the resilience that moves us beyond trauma into understanding.


Mark Ethan Toporek is an actor and teacher. A member of the Actors Studio, he has appeared in films including “The Confession” (with Ben Kingsley and Alec Baldwin), “The Secret Lives of Dentists,” and “Lesser Prophets” (with John Turturro). His stage work includes playing Pope John-Paul II in Mario Fratti’s “The Vatican Knows” at Theatre for the New City in 2013, and three productions with the Folksbiene Theatre.  As a teacher, he has been presenting The Film Series at the Queens Museum, and a variety of cinema classes for Manhattan’s 92Y–creating and teaching dozens of film series that deal with such topics as the law, politics, media, immigration, and New York on film.  A jury member of the Instant Composition Contest at the 2018 Transatlantyk Festival in Lodz (Poland), he also served on the Galway Film Festival Jury for Irish short films in 2013, & on the competition jury of the 2012 Forum on Law, Culture & Society film festival.
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