For my creative expression, I chose to go the creative route. Painting has always been an important part of my life and I love the idea of being able to portray messages to art. This piece is inspired by my family and what they did to come America. I discussed with them the idea of wanting to make something that provokes emotion and power. When talking to them, I asked them questions about why they came to America and what was the experience like. One of my aunts described to me that coming to America felt like moving mountains and crossing an ocean to find happiness and tranquility.
The painting displays a mother and her two children looking out into the mountains and the ocean to see all the things they hope America can bring to them. It also displays different things that other individuals mentioned was the reason they came to the United States. I wanted to include children in this painting because the reality is there are so many children who come to America at a young age. Many of my friends described not really knowing what was happening but they knew they had to follow their parent(s) wherever they went. As I attended La Raza’s graduation ceremony here at UNT, a student said in their speech, “Mom, remember when you crossed the border with two kids and three backpacks- we made it!” This was a very pivotal moment in the creative execution of the painting and it reassured me the direction I wanted to go towards.
This painting is meant to represent not the literal experience of coming to America. It is representing the level of difficulty and the sacrifices individuals will face in order to see a better future. Often times, the news evokes this negative image of immigrants but they fail to see the struggles to get to where they are at. I am so happy to see the final result of this painting and I hope it is one that can be emotional and relatable. As a child of immigrants, I know the power of my parents and I know the strength of their sacrifices. As I finish off my third year of undergrad, this painting reminds me that I owe it all to them for coming to America to allow me to have the education I have today.
On April 3,2019, Federal Immigration Officers raided a factory in Allen, Texas where almost 300 individuals were arrested for working unlawfully in the United States. This raid was documented as one of the largest in over a decade. Soon after these raids, social media platforms were consistent in providing any sightings of ICE that occurred in the DFW area. Many of these locations were those such as grocery stores, workplaces or busy streets around the area. The individuals detained in the raid were taken in for interrogation and were released under humanitarian needs, such as being the primary caretaker of a child or medical purposes.
It is important to be aware of the rights you have as a human. Even if you are undocumented or not, it is our duty to help those around us and provide them with the right resources in case something like this happens again. We need to look our families and the families of others. We are stronger when we are UNITED and when we are informed of our rights. You can find a pamphlet with this information provided by American Civil Liberties Union that is translated in almost 5 different languages!
What do I do if police or Immigration officers knock on my door?
¿Que hago si oficiales llegan a mi casa?
DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR. REMAIN CALM. Government do not have a right to come into your home without a WARRANT signed by a judge. You may kindly display a note on your window saying that they may come back when they have the proper documentation to come into your home.
You can say or write a note to officers saying that you do not give them permission to enter and that you will remain silent until you receive the opportunity to speak to an attorney. Take pictures and record the officers vehicle number. Make sure your information is detailed!
NO ABRA LA PUERTA. MANTENGA LA CALMA. El gobierno no tiene derecho a entrar en su casa sin una orden judicial firmada por un juez. Usted puede mostrar una nota en su ventana diciendo que pueden volver cuando tienen la documentación adecuada para entrar en su casa. Usted puede decir o escribir una nota a los oficiales diciendo que usted no les da permiso para entrar y que usted guardará el silencio hasta que reciba la oportunidad de hablar con un abogado. Tome fotos y anote el número de vehículo de los oficiales. ¡ Asegúrese de que su información esté detallada!
If immigration comes to my job or stops me in public, what do I do?
¿Que hago si inmigracion me para en público?
PLEAD THE FIFTH. No matter the circumstance, you will always have the right to remain silent. Remember to calm and polite and allow the official to know that you wish to remain silent until speaking with an attorney. Do not sign anything until speaking to an attorney. If stopped in your car, show the officer the proper documents such as your driver’s license, proof of insurance and registration of the vehicle. ALWAYS REMAIN SILENT. Remember that officials do not have the right to search you or your vehicle without proper documentation signed by a judge.
No importa la circunstancia, siempre tendrá derecho a guardar silencio. Mantenga calma y comunique con el oficial que gusta usted desea guardar silencio hasta que tenga comunicación con un abogado. No firme ningún papel hasta que usted hable con un abogado, y recuerde que tiene derecho a guardar silencio.
What if I get arrested?
¿Que pasa si me arrestan?
REMAIN SILENT. Once again, you have a right to remain silent and anything you do or say can be used against you. Even in times of arrest, you STILL HAVE RIGHTS. Inform your officer of any children or caretaking responsibilities you may have or any medical needs. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING until speaking to your attorney.
GUARDE EL SILENCIO. Usted tiene el derecho de guardar en silencio, cualquier cosa que usted haga o diga puede ser usada en su contra. Incluso en el momento de arresto, usted tiene sus derechos. Puede informarle al policía si tiene hijos o cualquier responsabilidad medica. NO FIRME NADA hasta hablar con su abogado.
What if I don’t have an attorney?
¿Que pasa si no tengo un abogado?
You will always have a right to an attorney, however in a situation like this one will not be provided for you. In the case you do not have an attorney, you are able to ask for any resources for free or reduced cost attorneys. There are also many organizations who provide legal help for free or low cost. You have a right to ask for these resources. You can also make sure you inform yourself of any of these resources in the case you ever find yourself being detained by Immigration official.
En el caso de que usted no tenga un abogado, usted es capaz de pedir cualquier recurso para abogados gratuitos o de costo reducido. También hay muchas organizaciones que proporcionan ayuda legal de forma gratuita o de bajo costo. Usted tiene derecho de solicitar estos recursos en el caso de que se encuentre detenido por el funcionario de inmigración.
BE AN ADVOCATE. SHARE YOUR RESOURCES. VOLUNTEER. We are all human and our rights deserve to be recognized no matter the circumstances. Spot immigration officials in your area? Take PICTURES. Document the exact address & vehicle numbers. SHARE IT!! Print out “Know your Rights” cards, pass them out around your area. If you are afraid to be affected by these raids, you can carry one of these cards and show them to officials if you are ever stopped. Never forget that Silence is GOLDEN.
Todos somos humanos y nuestros derechos merecen ser reconocidos sin importar las circunstancias. ¿Detectó oficiales de inmigración en su área? Toma fotos. Documente la dirección exacta y los números de vehículo. ¡ COMPÁRTELO! Imprima las tarjetas “Conozca sus derechos” y Pásale por su área. Si tiene miedo de ser afectado por estas incursiones, puede llevar una de estas tarjetas y mostrarlas a los oficiales si alguna vez se detienen. Nunca olviden que el silencio es dorado.
There are so many ways to make a positive impact in this world through donations, volunteering or creating more awareness. Today, I really wanted to focus on one organization that I personally work with, World Vision.
“Going to the end of the ends. Where no one else goes.”
World Vision is a christian humanitarian organization that partners with children, families and communities in very impoverished, marginalized places in the world where they tackle social injustices and poverty at the root cause.
Bob Pierce started World Vision back in the 1950’s by giving and that same mentality is still present throughout this organization.
Has impacted more than 200 million vulnerable children by attacking the root causes of poverty.
Over a 5-year period, 89% of malnourished children made a full recovery
Reaches a new child every 10 seconds and 3 more school every with clean water
Impacting children’s lives in over 100 countries
“Empowering people out of poverty. For good. For the past 65 years.”
Now the reason I wanted to talk about World Vision is also because I work with them by sponsoring a child. I am not here to try and make you sponsor a child. I simply want to talk about my personal experience with working with World Vision and how sponsoring a child has radically changed my life.
I want to address something first. I know that majority of who is reading this will be college aged and most of us, including me are not very financially stable as we have to pay for tuition, rent, books, insurance and the list goes on. Sponsoring a child is a financial commitment for sure and I am not negating that fact. However, after taking a look at my monthly budget, I found that if I ate out just a few times less a month I could afford to do it. Like I mentioned above, there are so many ways to make a change in this world and I will take about those later so sponsoring a child is just one way.
Okay now what does sponsoring a child actually mean?
Great question! Let me break it down for you. When you sponsor a child through World Vision, you are making a $39 commitment each month towards supporting a child in a third world country. What that $39 a month goes toward is providing these kids with access to vital basics they lack such as:
Economic opportunities and protection
You can see the vital role you play in this child’s life as they are in the most important stages of their lives. Another important thing to understand about sponsoring a child is that World Vision also works within the communities of sponsored children to help them grow and become more self-sustainable.
I am attaching a link to watch that talks more about my experience sponsoring a child!
As I mentioned in the video, there are several other ways to get involved with World Vision and help support these communities!
This event, 6k for Water, is a event where you are participating with thousands around the world to bring lasting clean water to children and communities in need by walking or running in this race. Why 6k? Glad you asked! It is because 6 kilometers is about the average distance that women and children have to walk to access clean water.
“Every time you take a step, is one step they don’t have to”
For more information about this link or to register : 6k for water
Other great ways to get involved are creating a fundraising page. Once here you can use your passion for helping people and put it into action. You will raise funds for clean water, better healthcare, child protection or whatever you want and create an event or special occasion to help with! This is a fantastic way to get your community behind and involved in life changing cause and will help empower your friends and family! You can also join ongoing fundraising efforts in your local area as well which can help you also meet like-minded people in your community.
Another fantastic way to get involved is by building kits. This link will bring you to the World Vision Kits site where you will pick the type of kit you want to build whether that be:
Women’s hope kits
International hygiene kits
All these kits are then shipped out and distributed to families in impoverished communities. This type of events allows people to be hands on in creating hope and a better future for a lot of families who need it!
World Vision has a whole site dedicated to ways to get involved and I will link that here.
Some other really fantastic non-profits that are doing incredible things around the world, I will list below!
In the Name of the People is the name of the documentary that shows the hardships and struggles that peasant farmers go through, while being oppressed with United States foreign aid. Almost all of El Salvador’s land was controlled by a few wealthy elite, and worked by thousands of poor peasants. To understand El Salvador’s civil war, one must look back to 1932, when communist peasant farmer Farabundo Martí organized a movement to break up the wealthy landowner’s estates, which resulted in the military government of the newly succeeded right-wing dictator, Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, to call for a “peace meeting” among the government and Martí’s group. This meeting went sour, and led to Martínez massacring tens of thousands of Salvadorans in what would become known as La Matanza (the slaughter). From this point on, El Salvador’s land was held by two percent of the population, and the other ninety-eight percent were peasants, all while being ruled by military dictatorships for fifty years.
Fifty years of oppression and authoritarian rule, the Salvadoran people could only take so much. Those who believed in the struggle and witnessed it left their homes, rich or poor, to join the movement. Students who witnessed political suppression in the urban areas fled to the jungles to join one of the five groups that made up the FMLN (Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front), and fight for the struggle. Peasants like Magdaleno in In the name of the People at 4:06, explained that he had no choice, he could not feed his family, provide them with clothing or education. Magdaleno joined because of the injustices he witnessed and experienced, where no intellectual or political debate would save him from the troubles he had, only revolution.
After these people did everything they could legally, they organized themselves, essentially into civil society groups: student organizations, worker and farmer unions, and demanded that the military end their half-century rule over El Salvador. The military ruler at that time, General Humberto Romero, countered the protests with police security forces and death squads, oppressing innocent people. Leftist and moderate elements of the military realized that their country was on the verge of collapse, and staged a coup against the government in 1979, which in turn was replaced by a junta government, or a government that is made up of civilian and military members. The military junta promised to carry out major reforms: redistribution of land, legitimate elections, and an end to human rights violations.
The United States was quick to identify itself with the junta as being a legitimate government, and supplied the regime with significant military and economic aid. Large landowners and right-wing elements of the military were not pleased with the junta’s radical reforms, and it soon became clear that the new government could not control these extremist elements of the military and the death squads. The Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, begged the United States publicly to stop sending aid to the junta government and that the Salvadoran soldiers quit killing people, he was murdered in broad daylight not even twenty four hours after his message. During his funeral, thousands of people gathered in the streets of San Salvador, and suddenly bombs go off, killing hundreds of people within minutes.
These two acts of violence are what sparked the Salvadoran civil war, and led to the formation of guerillas against the junta government. Many other crimes against humanity happened during this war, such as the El Mozote Massacre, in which paramilitary death squads trained in the United States by the C.I.A. and armed with weapons paid for with American tax dollars killed over eight hundred people including hundreds of women and children. The Río Lempa massacre, where around six hundred peasants, mostly women and children, were murdered trying to cross the river out of El Salvador into neighboring Honduras. These events among the slaughtering of numerous priests, midwives, doctors, and patients needing medical attention were common during the El Salvador civil war.
For me, these events are not something that should just be swept under the rug. Not only are they too close to home, in America’s “backyard”, but also that just brushing these events off as “collateral damage” or “historical inefficiencies” is simply ignorant. These massacres were paid for and supported in full by elements of the United States government, to the point that paramilitary death squads were personally flown to Benning, Georgia to be trained in counterinsurgency tactics at the School of the Americas. When is it enough? When will the average American be historically aware of the violations and atrocities we have supported? This is not ancient history, there are videos, pictures, detailed reports on these things that have happened, and very recently. What are your thoughts on this documentary? I encourage you to watch this film and provide feedback on my post; I would enjoy hearing from other people and also contending viewpoints on the subject. Please, watch this film and enjoy: