Sunday, February 12, 2017
Born in South Africa, Trevor Noah is a comedian, writer, producer, actor, media critic, and television host. He was named to replace Jon Stewart as the host of the The Daily Show, the television talk show on Comedy Central.
In 2016, Noah published an autobiography, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. An engaging and interesting book, Noah writes of his humble beginnings in apartheid South Africa, his family's hard scrabble existence there, and ends with the shocking domestic violence suffered by his mother -- she was shot by Noah's step-father. Here is an abstract:
"Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.
Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love."
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
84 Lumber Joins Budweiser in Making Immigration a Super Bowl Sunday Story: “The will to succeed is always welcome here.”
84 Lumber's Super Bowl ad centers on a mother and daughter traveling through Mexico. This is the full ad, which includes the portion Fox deemed too controversial to air during the Super Bowl. 84 Lumber's Super Bowl ad centers on a mother and daughter traveling through Mexico. This is the full ad, which includes the portion that the Fox network deemed too controversial to air during the Super Bowl. (84 Lumber)
Thomas Heath in the Washington Post explains how building supplies company 84 Lumber sparked controversy with its Super Bowl ad featuring a Mexican mother and daughter embarking on a difficult journey north. It ends with the written words: “The will to succeed is always welcome here.” The Super Bowl ad asked viewers to visit the 84 Lumber website if they wanted to find out how the journey ended. The website version included a five-minute “director’s cut” version that concludes with the pair entering the United States through a door in the border wall, which looks more ominous and foreboding than beautiful. I found the ending to be powerful and moving. 84 Lumber’s site was overwhelmed by the traffic.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
As this story makes clear, these are tense times. “You don’t belong in this country, you f—ing joke.” These words in an Instagram post were a catalyst for hundreds of people from all 50 states and 44 countries to give more than $800,000 to International Rescue Committee (IRC), an organization that helps Syrian refugees. They were directed at, and later shared by, Kal Penn was “Kumar” from the “Harold and Kumar” film series. Penn posted a screenshot of the Instagram post to help raise money and raise money he did.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Three undocumented teenagers, a Dominican girl, an African boy and a Peruvian girl, are about to graduate high school in the Bronx, while working with a teacher and a lawyer to try to get their papers to stay in the USA. Forced to grow up prematurely and navigate problems most adults don’t even have to face, they’re really just American teenagers who want to be with their friends, fall in love, and push back against authority.
The story deals with characters living through a problem facing people all over the United States. I wanted the film to feel like you were looking through a window at real teenagers, at a real school, dealing with their real family and friends. It was important to me that the audience see these kids and recognize their son, their daughter, their sister, their next door neighbor; I didn’t want them to see undocumented immigrants, I wanted them to see teenagers.
This is specifically about undocumented characters who came to the US when they were very young; people who know this country much better than the one in which they happened to be born; people who consider themselves ‘American’. To these teenagers, the US is the only place they’ve ever known as ‘home’.
The film catches them right at the crucial moment, between childhood and adulthood, when they are finding their voices and discovering what kind of people they are going to be.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Monday, January 23, 2017
"Wallah Je te jure” is a documentary filmed in 2016 in Niger, directed by Marcello Merletto and produced by the International Organization for Migration. It tells the stories of men and women travelling along West African migration routes to Italy. Senegal's rural villages, Niger's bus stations and "ghettos" full of traffickers, Italian squares and houses are the backdrops of these courageous trips, which often end in tragedy. No matter the cost, the goal to reach Europe will be achieved, "Wallah." But there are those who, tired from the journey, turn back home.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Yesterday was a the day of the Women's March -- actually marches -- in cities across the United States. Sophie Cruz, a 6-year-old immigration activist and daughter of two undocumented immigrants, spoke at the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday and won over the crowd with her inspiring message. After delivering her speech in English, she repeated it in Spanish and led the crowd in a chant of “Si, se puede,” or “Yes, we can.” Social media exploded with support for Cruz, who initially attracted attention when she slipped through security barricades to reach Pope Francis during a procession when he visited the U.S. in 2015. She handed the pope a letter about immigration reform, in which she expressed her fear that her parents would be deported.
“We are here together making a chain of love to protect our families,” Cruz said during her Saturday remarks. “Let us fight with love, faith and courage so that our families will not be destroyed.
“I also want to tell the children not to be afraid, because we are not alone,” Cruz continued. “There are still many people that have their hearts filled with love.”
Friday, January 20, 2017
"One aspect of Donald Trump that has particularly bothered me has been his denunciations of immigrants. Maybe that’s partly because I’m a son of a refugee, or maybe it just seems unfair to scapegoat people who are powerless and struggling, or maybe it just seems hypocritical. In any case, I prepared this video that tells a special story about Trump and immigration. The best recommendation for it? He’ll hate it!
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Here are "11 Documentaries About Immigrants Everyone Should Watch Right Now." Below is the trailer for number 6 on the list:
Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas made headlines in 2011 when he revealed he was undocumented, risking everything to redefine what it means to be an American.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
President-Elect Trump will be inaugurated on Friday. PBS reminds us that, eight years ago, a poster designed by Shepard Fairey became the iconic image of the 2008 presidential campaign. The “HOPE” poster, featuring an image of Barack Obama, began with a print run of just 350, and spread after it was distributed on the street, at rallies and online. Now, the graphic artist, muralist, illustrator and activist is back with another street art campaign called “We the People” for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. See above. Note that the new president’s face won’t be on it.
Shepard has created three portraits for the campaign; two other artists, Colombian American muralist Jessica Sabogal and and Chicano graphic artist Ernesto Yerena, have each made one more. Together, they hope the faces of “We the People” — standing in for traditionally marginalized groups or those specifically targeted during Trump’s presidential campaign — will flood Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day.
Fairey is collaborating with the Amplifier Foundation, a nonprofit that works to amplify grassroots movements and which commissioned the project. After learning that large-sized signs were prohibited at Inauguration, Amplifier came up with a hack to distribute the posters. Their plan: to buy full-page ads in the Washington Post on Jan. 20 that feature the “We the People” images, which can be torn out and carried as placards, or hung and posted around town. The posters will also be distributed at metro stops, from moving vans and other drop spots on Inauguration Day, as well as posted online for free download. A Kickstarter campaign for “We the People” has raised more than $148,000 since it was launched Tuesday night.
“We the People” posters by Shepard Fairey, Ernesto Yerena and Jessica Sabogal / Amplifier Foundation
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Sat tuned for "Campito Kids", a short film, is the story of a migrant family as they struggle to overcome cultural barriers and adjust to their ever-shifting lives. It is based on the filmmaker's experiences and years of observations.
Campito Kids by Antonio De Loera-Brust was shot entirely in Yolo County, California in migrant camps.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
Last night, Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper talked about their favorite shows to binge watch on New Years Day, when they're inevitably recovering from their evening amusing us masses with their uniquely wonderful New Year's Eve countdown show on CNN.
Here's Kathy's description of TLC's 90 Day Fiancé:
"So what it is it's where you have 90 days to bring someone from another country... and then you have 90 days to marry them or else they don't get their citizenship. ... It's called a K1 visa. And there's a lot of couples that, I'm going to be honest, you're not even pulling for, at all. Like the whole time you're like go back to your country no matter how horrible it seemed."
Okay, so her law isn't quite right. But it could be interesting. Here's the official promo:
Hm. I think I'll take a hard pass. But maybe it's just the thing for your NYE recovery efforts.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
“Exodus,” a two-hour FRONTLINE special, tells the first-person stories of refugees and migrants fleeing war, persecution and hardship — drawing on footage filmed by the families themselves as they leave their homes on dangerous journeys in search of safety and refuge in Europe. “Exodus” premieres Tues., Dec. 27, 2016 at a special time — 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST.
Meredith Blake for the Los Angeles Times reviews the show.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
As an actor, he was best known for “Growing Pains,” the multi-camera family comedy that aired on ABC from 1985 to 1992. Thicke played Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist and patriarch of a Long Island family. Working out of the family’s home after his wife went back to work as a reporter, Seaver balanced his professional duties with his role caring for the couple’s three children. Thicke starred alongside Joanna Kerns, Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold, Jeremy Miller, and later a young Leonardo DiCaprio.
Born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario in 1947, Thicke attended the University of Western Ontario after graduating from secondary school. Thicke came to U.S. television after having risen to prominence as a host and frequent talk-show guest in his native Canada.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
I'm sure your plans for the evening can be postponed. Take a night to enjoy Broadway.
Saturday, November 5, 2016
The fight over family detention centers is a short (5:30) CNN report that could be used in class to spark conversation about family detention. It helpfully includes still shots of a family detention center (inside and out), closeups of ankle monitoring devices, and video from a community shelter for refugees.
Immprof Denise Gilman (UT) was interviewed by CNN and appears prominently in the video. In the written version of the report, she offers this excellent quote: "Under US asylum law, the way you seek refugee status is to come to the US... That is provided for in the law. That is not law breaking." In the video, she argues that the current carceral setting is not appropriate for "traumatized women and children."
I've got it flagged for my Spring class!
Friday, November 4, 2016
Shane Bauer in Mother Jones goes undercover with a border militia -- and we all should be concerned:
"I crawl out of the back of the pickup with my rifle in hand. "Keep your weapons nice and tight," Captain Pain orders. I am traveling light. Unlike the others, I don't view southern Arizona as a war zone, so I didn't put steel plates in my chest rig. Next to everyone else's commando-style AR-15s, my Ruger Mini-14 with a wood stock is slightly out of place. But everything else is square—I'm wearing a MultiCam uniform, desert tan combat boots, and a radio on my shoulder. I fit in just fine. We are in a Walmart parking lot in Nogales. Captain Pain and a couple of others go into the store to get supplies. In Pain's absence, Showtime is our commanding officer. He is a Marine special-ops veteran who did three tours in Afghanistan. He has camo paint on his face and a yeti beard. He gets in the cab to check Facebook on his phone while Destroyer, Jaeger, Spartan, and I stand with our backs to the truck, rifles in hand, keeping watch for anything suspicious. The Mexican border is three miles away."
Monday, October 31, 2016
Kelefa Sanneh in the October 31 New Yorker offers a balanced summary over the U.S. debates over immigration. I have some quibbles, including treating pundit Ann Coulter as if she were as scholarly a commentator on immigration as philosopher Joseph Carens.
Saturday, October 29, 2016
CNN reports that actress Lindsay Lohan has been helping Syrian refugees in Turkey. The actress is the brand ambassador for the blue caffeine lemonade Mintanine, which has partnered with her to aid refugees. The German company behind the drink, YNDA GmbH, said in a statement it has been working with Lohan since September. The "Mean Girls" star has been sharing images on social media of herself interacting with Syrian refugees and aid workers in Turkey.