A FILM AND PHOTOGRAPHY SERIES FOCUSED ON AMERICA'S UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT YOUTH.
Select photography and video included in "Gateways" (2017)
The short film centers around Brenda Perez and Gerson Quinteros as they deliver a presentation on how to navigate challenges facing young undocumented immigrants. Their lives and stories are emblematic of the mission for immigration reform. As of 2012, they are in the United States as DACA recipients. This allows them to live without fear of deportation. The films examine their respective journeys to the US, anecdotes from their childhood, and how they are contributing to American society.
BRENDA VALERIA PEREZ AMADOR
COUNTRY OF BIRTH: MEXICO
YEAR IMMIGRATED TO US: 2006
“I came to the Unites States, when I was 9 years old, along with my sister (8 years-old) and my brother (6 years-old). Our dad had taken us from Mexico City to the northern part of Mexico, where he handed us to a couple that we did not know.”
GERSON DE JESUS QUINTEROS
COUNTRY OF BIRTH: EL SALVADOR
YEAR IMMIGRATED TO US: 2004
“I immigrated with my godfather and his wife. I came by buses and cars and then in Texas I cross a river by tube or raft. I came here because my grandmother who was taking care of me died and I was reunited with my mom here in the USA.”
Using the presentation as a framework, the film cuts away to scenes of immigrant life in the district. Protests led by CASA de Maryland, prayer service at Shrine of the Sacred Heart, and an assembly at Capital City Charter School are all included.
The film features original poetry by Aura Alvarez and identity statements by Douglas Gonzalez, Feli Hernandez, Yanci Flores, and Miguel Castro.
"We are no longer dreamers because we are wide awake"
excerpt from the poem "Being an immigrant is not a sin" by Aura Alvarez
RISERS video portraits are an approximately one-minute video. The portraits and identity statements allow the subjects to describe the cultural identifiers which make up their self-perception. Using national identity as a framework, their statements convey conditions of religion, sexuality, gender, and relocation. Possessing both tension and contradiction, they convey an unfiltered perspective of a new cultural style and Americanism.
Sisters Yanci and Carla Flores immigrated to the United States from El Salvador as young children. Yanci describes her identity as being "a mix of Salvadoran and American culture" and attributes her cultural awareness to the ethnic diversity of her community.