Thursday, December 14, 2017

Board 'the beast': migrants' daring train ride through Mexico – in pictures

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.


Photo of La Bestia courtesy of NPR


December 14, 2017 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Dramatic Photo Highlights Perils of Mediterranean Crossing


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."


November 19, 2017 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Y'all know I love the Facebook phenomenon Humans of New York. I've written about the site before (here, here, and here).

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...

You can see the full three stories here, here, and here.


September 27, 2017 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Meet Kikito


A Border Patrol vehicle drives in front of a mural in Tecate, Mexico, just beyond a border structure Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in Tecate, Calif.  Gregory Bull / AP

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."



September 10, 2017 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Art on the Border

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.


September 7, 2017 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

U.K. Bound? Check Out The Migration Museum

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.



July 11, 2017 in Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Dorothea Lange’s Iconic ‘Migrant Mother’ Resonates in Today’s Social Turmoil


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.

Read more

Crossroads-General-Store -North-Carolina -1938


May 26, 2017 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 16, 2017

The many faces of Frida Kahlo


Frida Seated In Her Garden, 1943 (Florence Arquin/Courtesy of Throckmorton Fine Art)

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.The_Two_Fridas

The Two Fridas


January 16, 2017 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Contrasting Trump and Obama Inaugeration Posters


Poster by Shepard Fairey / via Amplifier Foundation

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


January 15, 2017 in Books, Current Affairs, Film & Television, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

First Somali-American U.S. Legislator Sworn Into Office Today

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!



January 4, 2017 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Detention Nation, An Art Exhibit

Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 8.33.49 AM

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.


January 4, 2017 in Current Affairs, Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Immigrant of the Year: First Lady Melania Trump


Photo Courtesy of Harper's Bazaar

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.



Michele Obama


December 12, 2016 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Your HONY Uplift

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.

Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 12.52.30 PM

I love Brandon Stanton's work and his many positive immigrant stories!


December 9, 2016 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

CNN on Family Detention feat. Immprof Denise Gilman

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!


November 5, 2016 in Current Affairs, Film & Television, Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Ansel Adams' Internment Photos

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.


October 28, 2016 in Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"Unsung Heroes" of Georgetown U

Unsung Heroes

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.


October 19, 2016 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Stand As One Exhibition

Are you in London for a few days? If so, head over to 4 Holywell Lane to check out the Stand as One Exhibition, an "immersive film and photography exhibition in support of refugees worldwide."

The event is free and sponsored by Oxfam. 

The Guardian has published several of the photos from the event. Check out this one by Sam Tarling.


You can see a few more via BBC to get the virtual experience.


September 12, 2016 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Brexit and Immigration

Check out this ad from the U.K. Independence Party, which favors the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union (-aka- Brexit).


The Atlantic has thoughtful discussion of the poster and the immigration battle at the heart of Brexit.


June 20, 2016 in Current Affairs, Photos, Teaching Resources | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

Today is Father's Day, and HuffPo has a series of powerful photos showing the incredible love of refugee fathers caring for their children.

Closer to home, here's a photo I snapped in San Diego a few shorts week ago. The father of these young ones was on the U.S. side of Friendship Park, visiting his family in Mexico through the fence.


Wishing you and yours a special day with family, together.


June 19, 2016 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Casa Del Migrante En Tijuana



Guest post by Julia Ponce, student, The Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University

Along a residential road lined with humble dwellings, four miles away from both downtown Tijuana and the San Ysidro-Tijuana border, sits la Casa del Migrante or the Migrant’s House, a faith-based non-profit temporary shelter for migrant men run under the direction of Father Pat Murphy. Founded in 1987 by Scalabrinian missionaries, la Casa del Migrante has provided shelter and humanitarian assistance to more than 250,000 migrant men from Mexico, Central America and other Latin American countries. In the last five years, 90% of the men occupying the 180 available beds at la Casa were deported migrants from the United States and from countries as far as Nepal. What started as a house of hospitality is now a source of hope for deportees that wind up homeless in Tijuana, destitute and thousands of miles away from their homes.

A safe haven in a city filled with fear, persecution, insecurity and violent crime; la Casa provides migrants with temporary security, social and mental health services, legal assistance, and hope. La Casa helps migrants in finding permanent housing and work in Tijuana. It advocates for the humane treatment for migrants in collaboration with local police and government. La Casa belongs to a larger international network providing assistance for migrants at strategic points along the US-Mexico border, Central America, Africa, Haiti and South America. Before given a bed, migrants seeking safe harbor at La Casa are screened by volunteers and must abide by the house rules. By providing migrants with a second chance and an opportunity to get back on their feet and their lives together, La Casa del Migrante is a beacon of light for those attempting to navigate a sea of turbulent waters, men escaping unimaginable and atrocious conditions in their own countries, ultimately left to seek refuge in Mexico.


May 25, 2016 in Current Affairs, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0)