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Todos Dignos: Voices From Our Undocumented Immigrant Community

Amy Martin | United States

"My mom brought us by herself. I’ve been here for 20 years. I was ten years old when I came. She wanted to give her kids the best opportunities for themselves. She wanted the best for us.
I began to work at 12 or 13 years old to help my mom. I was in school and working. I worked in construction. I like it and I learned fast. I am a good at it. That’s why I continue to do it. I like it a lot. I like to do it so that the clients like it when I finish. I try to do the best I can. I like when they are happy with the work I do. I see their joy. I don’t do it for the money, I do it so that the people are happy with their house.
We as immigrants are people that are thankful for this country. It is an opportunity to have a better future. We came for nothing more but to work. Not to take, only to work.
We want to respect this country. We are not perfect, but we want to be members of the community and help this country."

Immigration is perhaps the biggest issue debated in America currently, but many voices have been left out of the conversation. Todos Dignos is a portrait/storytelling project dignifying and celebrating undocumented immigrants and their contributions to the greater American society. It confronts false narratives surrounding immigrants and migrants, in this time of the ‘otherness’ rhetoric, to aid in a more informed and cohesive society.
Each subject shares hints of their identity through objects that they chose to represent their contributions. The subjects emerge from the shadows where they have been pushed by previous and current immigration policies. Many of the subjects were brought over as children or have been here waiting for papers to be processed for decades.
The subjects frequently have been labeled ‘other’ and have minimized rights to work, education, travel, and speech. They have not been granted the ability to freely share their faces or tell their stories in our society.
Todos Dignos creates a platform to share the human condition and brings stories and images out from the shadows with hopes of creating meaningful connection to others in our community, greater society.

Todos Dignos: Voices From Our Undocumented Immigrant Community is as project created with the belief that creating pathways of connection to those who have been denied a platform to share their human stories, can cultivate empathy and spark action towards positive change in policy. Growing up in southern Arizona, border issues have been a primary focus of my proejcts regionally and throught the world. Through these images and stories, my hope is to increase awareness, understanding and compassion across geographic and social barriers. I believe that there should be space created for individuals to tell their own stories, regardless of circumstance.

Repeal Coalition Arizona

Northern Arizona Interfaith Council

 

 

Amy S. Martin

https://www.amysmartinphotography.com

520.471.4712

amysmartin21@gmail.com

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