Thursday, May 3, 2018
From the Bookshelves: Undocumented: Immigration and the Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border by John Moore
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Reuters has been awarded a Pulitzer prize for "shocking photographs that exposed the world to the violence Rohingya refugees faced in fleeing Myanmar." You can see the full collection of award-winning photographs at this link. Among the photos is this one, snapped by photojournalist Damir Sagolj in December 2017. It's of an 11-month-old Rohingya refugee, Abdul Aziz, who died in a Bangladeshi refugee camp after battling a high fever and severe cough.
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Lewis Hine was an American photographer and sociologist who used his photographs to achieve social change. Last month, a small collection of Hine photographs was put up for auction, including this one of a mother and child at Ellis Island in 1907:
The auction included several other Hine photographs of Ellis Island, which the BBC reprints here. Hine chose to take photographs at Ellis Island in order "to give a human face to the newly arrived families, who were often feared by New Yorkers."
Monday, March 5, 2018
The Facebook sensation Humans of New York is currently reporting stories of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The first story is both horrific and moving.
This young man told HONY:
It was early in the morning when the military came. I woke up to a big sound that sounded like a bomb blast. Then the shooting started and everyone was screaming. We ran for our lives. It was dark and there were people running all around us. It only took us thirty minutes to get to safety because our village is close to the border. But then some of us decided to go back. There were five of us. We were curious. We wanted to see what happened to the others. We crawled on our stomachs to the top of a hill, and looked down at our village. There were so many dead bodies. Some of them were my cousins. I saw a girl from school with three soldiers kneeling on top of her. They were covering her mouth so she wouldn’t scream. I felt so dizzy. I couldn’t stand up. I used to have a dream that I was going to grow up and help my family. I was studying hard. Now I don’t even know why I’d want to live in this world.
Along with shedding light on the dire situation of the Rohingya, HONY is raising funds to help build inexpensive bamboo houses for the refugees.
Thursday, December 14, 2017
The Guardian has a feature with photos by Veronica G Cardenas. Cardenas photographed life on the route of la Bestia – the freight train on which Central American men, women and children band together as a caravan to make the brutal 20-day journey through Mexico. They can travel without having to pay, but still they risk kidnappings, rape and injury. Some of them will start anew in Mexico. A few will go further north to seek asylum in the US.
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Photojournalist Alessio Paduano captured this dramatic image of a migrant near drowning in the Mediterranean. As the BBC reports, Paduano was on board a rescue ship racing to help migrants who ran into trouble with their inflatable boat. He heard "desperate screams coming from everywhere" that "felt even more deafening in the silence of the sea."
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Brandon Stanton's most recent posts record interviews with DREAMers, like this one:
I was on a leadership team in 5th grade. At the end of the year we were supposed to take a trip to Washington DC. We held fundraisers and everything. But when it was time to go, I didn’t have the identification papers to buy a plane ticket. So our teacher Ms. Rivera decided that we’d take a bus. Just so I could go too. That trip changed my life. It made me want to be a lawyer. And Ms. Rivera became one of the closest people in my life. She always kept in touch. She basically watched me grow up...
Sunday, September 10, 2017
CBS News offers detail about a French artist known as "JR" who erected the cut-out of the boy that stands nearly 65 feet tall and is meant to prompt discussion of immigration. "Meet Kikito, he turned 1 year old last April," JR tweeted Friday. "The piece is visible close to the Tecate border for a month."
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Check out this stunning new art installation in Tecate, Mexico on the U.S.-Mexico border. This photo of the project is from the French street artist behind it: JR.
Laist reports that the boy in the photograph is David Enrique (nicknamed "Kikito"), a nearby resident.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Photo: Roland Williams/The Migration Museum Project
Are you headed to London? Consider checking out the city's Migration Museum at the Workshop, "an adventurous programme of exhibitions, events and education workshops, telling stories of movement to and from Britain."
Current exhibits include Call Me by My Name: Stories from Calais and Beyond, 100 Images of Migration, and Keepsakes.
For more about the museum, check out this lovely write-up from the Pacific Standard magazine.
Friday, May 26, 2017
Dorothea Lange's “Migrant Mother,” taken in Nipomo, Calif., in March 1936, captured the despair of that era through the eyes of a 32-year-old mother who had just sold her car tires for food. (Dorothea Lange)
The Associated Press reminds us of the work of Dorothea Lange and ties it to the modern migration struggles. Lange was driving by a pea pickers’ camp on the California coast when she stumbled across a weary mother and her many children huddled in a lean-to.
It was 1936, during the throes of the Great Depression, and Lange took out her camera. The image she titled “Migrant Mother” became the late photographer’s most famous work, capturing the dirt and despair of that era.
The photograph, digitally scanned and enlarged, is a dominant feature of a new exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California called “Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing.” The exhibit of 100 of Lange’s photographs includes Dust Bowl migrants, Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II, the homeless and post-war urban decline.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Chloe Coleman for the Washinton Post reviews an array of pictures from a photo exhibit focusing on iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Kahlo, known to for her paintings, was one of the most photographed women of her generation. The exhibition “Mirror, Mirror . . . Portraits of Frida Kahlo” features fifty-seven photographs by twenty-seven photographers. The exhibition is on display at the Harn Museum of Art (University of Florida) until April 2. It then moves to the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art (Sante Fe, NM) from May 6 to Oct. 29.
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
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
This beautiful photograph comes from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. That's Ilhan Omar who was elected in November to became the first Somali-American U.S. legislator. Today she was sworn into office as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Congratulations, Representative Omar!
Detention Nation, like States of Incarceration (discussed yesterday), is a multi-media exhibition that sheds light on immigration detention. It showed at Houston's Station Museum of Contemporary Art in early 2015.
Detention Nation is the project of the art-activist collective Sin Huellas (Without Fingerprints or Without a Trace), a group that takes it name from the practice of removing fingerprints with acid in an effort to avoid the consequences of a prior deportation.
The Texas Observer met with collective members Orlando Lara and Deyadira Arrellano, who spoke about their own experiences with immigration detention.
It's interesting to hear how some things are universal. Lara talks about the lack of medicine in detention and how treating nurses consistently suggest that detainees "drink water." There's a strikingly similar scene in the musical Allegiance where interned Japanese are denied medicine and told to drink water.
I encourage you to check out the Facebook page, which has numerous photos of the exhibit. Any and all would be great additions to the classroom.
And for those of you at big fancy institutions who just might have an on-campus art museum, I'd consider contacting Sin Huellas to see about bringing the exhibit to your campus. It would be a powerful teaching tool.
Monday, December 12, 2016
A previous Immigrant of the Day, soon-to-be- First Lady than Melania Trump is our Immigrant of the Year. She is a jewelry and watch designer and former model who is married to 2016 U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Born in Yugoslavia (now Slovenia), Melania Trump became a lawful permanent resident of the United States in 2001 and a U.S. citizen in 2006. In January, Melania will become the first foreign-born First Lady since Louisa Adams.
Lauren Collins in the New Yorker provides background about Melania Trump. Melania got her green card in 2001 and became a citizen five years later. As Collins writes, "Melania has expressed little solidarity with less fortunate newcomers." “I came here for my career, and I did so well, I moved here,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “It never crossed my mind to stay here without papers. That is just the person you are. You follow the rules. You follow the law. Every few months you need to fly back to Europe and stamp your visa.”
Melania has expressed support for some of her husband's tough-on-immigration positions. Still, questions were raised during the campaign about whether Melania always had an authorized immigration status in the United States.
Friday, December 9, 2016
It's been a loooong week. And I don't know how things are shaping up in your neck of the woods, but I'm looking at temps around -20 tonight. So I could use a little bit of cheer. Enter this HONY story, which definitely fits the bill.
I love Brandon Stanton's work and his many positive immigrant stories!
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, October 28, 2016
Did you know that in 1943 famed photographer Ansel Adams documented life at the Manzanar War Relocation Camp? You can find them all in his book Born Free and Equal: The Story of Loyal Japanese Americans.
Assuming you don't have the spare $150 to drop on that out-of-print tome — and, FWIW, prices just go up from there into the thousands — you can find the collection digitized online via the Library of Congress.
Here, for example, is Manzanar from Guard Tower, view west (Sierra Nevada in background), Manzanar Relocation Center, California.
The collection is a powerful visual accompaniment to the Allegiance musical that I just told you to go and see on December 13.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Febin Bellamy is a Georgetown University business student, immigrant from India, and founder of the Facebook group Unsung Heroes.
As WaPo reports, Bellamy was inspired to start the group after getting to know a janitor (and fellow immigrant) working at Georgetown. Their connection led Bellamy to "see" previously "invisible" workers across his campus. And he looked for a way to facilitate more student-staff connections.
What Bellamy came up with was a Facebook group where he posts photographs of Georgetown workers alongside their stories (a la HONY).
Many, it turns out, are immigrants.
The shared stories have not only increased communication on campus, but they've led to pretty remarkable fundraisers. For example, students raised several thousand dollars to help a cafeteria cashier return to Southern Sudan to visit family there.
Bellamy has plans to expand Unsung Heroes beyond the Georgetown campus. That, I know, is a campus movement we could all get behind.