Our Artist Community Sounds Off on Immigration
Immigration. Never before in modern history has that word been as charged or controversial as it is in our current political environment, in the United States and across the globe. With all the noise, news and nonsense these days it's easy to lose sight of the millions of meaningful, hopeful success stories that immigrants all over the world have shared, including our amazing community of talented folks!
America has been a nation of immigrants for hundreds of years. Artist Chris Lozos, whose family arrived from Greece in the early 20th century, notes "America was built by immigrants and their descendants. Those who came here had the spirit to overcome great obstacles and the ambition to fulfill their dreams in a new world. Without this steady stream of pioneers during all eras, we would not be the proud nation we are today." Artwork above by Chris Lozos, Anat Ronen and Mikkel Henssel.
From Elizabeth Kennen, whose grandfather arrived at Ellis Island from Spain, "How amazing and emotional it must have been to finally reach New York and see the Statue of Liberty welcoming you." Our We Were Strangers Too campaign supports the Anti-Defamation League, the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency, fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, protecting civil rights for all. Artwork above by Lina Ngo, Elizabeth Kennen and Yadesa Boja, who immigrated to the U.S. from Ethiopia.
It's time we addressed the elephant in this blog post: the wall that you-know-who wants to build along the US southern border. We like to stay mostly positive here at CAN though, so here's what Heldáy de la Cruz, a DACA recipient and artist, has to say: "I aim to use my work to contribute to the struggle. To give the power back to the undocumented community and voice our resilience." Hear, hear! Heldáy lives in Portland, where he co-leads an activist group called We the Dreamers, organizing creative spaces for undocumented people to share their stories. Artwork above by Jazmin Chacon, Yocelyn Riojas and Heldáy de la Cruz.
In the artist statement for her Unity in Diversity piece, Aditi Raychoudhury puts it more poignantly than we ever could: "I am an immigrant. When I came to the United States as a graduate student, I was terribly homesick. What got me through those initial years were the people of this country who offered warmth and friendship to so many of us who had left our homes behind." Be sure to check out the rest of her statement -- it's an uplifting and inspiring read about humanity at its best. Artwork above by Chris Lozos, Aditi Raychoudhury & Lorraine Nam.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to stay tuned for more artist sound bytes in the new year! Remember to check out our new What REALLY Makes America Great book, an anthology from over 75 artists who celebrate what they think really makes America Great. Proudly supporting The Dream Works, and don't forget our What REALLY Makes America Great 2019 wall calendar!
~All of us at Team CAN