Beyond “Latinx Heritage Month” | Alejandra Mejía

Umbrella terms like “Hispanic,” “Latino,” and “Latinx” attempt to label an immensely varied group of people living in the United States, homogenizing differences in countries of origin, reasons for migrating, and historical experiences. This ethnic label, while sometimes a tool for unity, can also serve as a reductive ethnic category that overlooks unique cultures, experiences, and various levels of oppression and privilege (such as obscuring the experiences of Afro-Latinxs).

Waves of Displacement: From Central America to Los Angeles | Adriana Cerón and Mildred Montesflores

For many Central Americans, Westlake became their first home after having to cross multiple international borders due to U.S.-fueled wars and genocide, military-controlled governments, natural disasters, and economic upheavals in their countries of origin. Families were separated and driven from their homes, including indigenous peoples in Guatemala who continue to be forcibly displaced from their lands to make way for large-scale farming, mining, and hydroelectric projects.

1.5 Gen Migrant Analyses: How my Migrant Identity Informs my Politics | Alejandra Mejía

“Our story of migration is like that of many working-class Latin American immigrants: motivated by the search for better opportunities and, ultimately, for survival in countries where U.S. intervention and global asymmetrical power dynamics dating back to colonization have left limited options for people. Direct U.S. involvement in Panamá, where I lived from ages 3-11, can be traced back to the nineteenth century when what is now Panamá was a province of Colombia.“

In the Presence of Absence | Jonathon Burne-Espinoza

“Another thread, and the one that I feel most acutely: U.S. cultural imperialism has robbed us both of our cultural identities. The visceral awareness of lacking, the presence of absence (a phrase borrowed from the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish) which transcends time and space, spans across peoples who have had their lands, communities, bodies, and spirits stolen, commodified, and repackaged back to them disfigured in the rhetoric of diversity, humanitarianism, and progress.”

Deconstructing your Summer Service Trip to Latin America: A Guide for the Well-Intentioned | Sourik Beltrán

“Service abroad” programs have been the subject of major controversy. From the exploitative photographing of black and brown children to issues of sustainability, it is clear that these trips do not produce the benefits that are often marketed by the sponsoring organizations. In fact, instances of outright harm caused by these programs are unfortunately common. Still, thousands of people continue to sign up for service trips every year with the hope that their presence abroad can somehow play a role in “improving” the world.

This is a guide for you, the well-intentioned person whose interest in relieving poverty (or perhaps in boosting your resume) has led you to book a service trip to Latin America.

1.5 Gen Migrant Analyses: My Family’s Journey | Alejandra Mejía

“In recent years, my birth city has experienced growing rates of unemployment, poverty, and crime, becoming one of the most dangerous cities in the world with a murder per capita of 59 per 1,000 people as of 2016. This is especially true after the 2009 U.S. backed coup to remove democratically-elected Manuel Zelaya from the presidential office. Corrupt post-coup governments have been closely linked with police and drug cartels, which have only exacerbated the inequity, violence, and poverty in Honduras, leading many people, including unaccompanied youth, to embark on dangerous journeys to the North. I often wonder what my life would have been like had we stayed in Tegucigalpa, yet the social and political context of Honduras at the time drove my mother’s hard decision to leave and subsequently shaped the experiences of my family.”

How our Family Stories Shape Us: Identity, Cultural Memory, and the Central American Diaspora | Adriana Cerón

“Although I am glad to see attention finally given to the current plight of Central American refugees and migrants, I am appalled by the ways we continue to overlook decades of U.S. policy intervention in Central America and fail to connect how it has fueled migration since the 1980s. In doing so, we continue to ignore the long history of violence  against Central American peoples and their historical and socio-political experiences and analyses.”

Fui una niña migrante: una memoria de resistencia y migración hacia Estados Unidos | Suyapa Portillo, Pitzer College

“Sin esos aliados migrantes de clase trabajadora centroamericanos, quienes resistían a un régimen de migración estricto que no reconocía refugiados, que hacía la guerra contra ellos en Centroamérica, no tendríamos el movimiento social en torno a la migración e inmigración que tenemos ahora.”

#AbolishICE Means Abolish Deportation | David Bennion

Repackaging ICE as kinder, gentler deportation agency with a new name will not put an end to the human rights abuses that have been highlighted and exacerbated under the Trump administration. The next Democratic president would simply revert to deporting immigrants en masse, just as President Obama did. Rather, ICE should not only be abolished, but its core function of imprisoning and deporting non-citizens must also be eliminated.

50 años de desaparición forzada en México | Guadalupe Pérez Rodríguez

En ese sentido, estas líneas pretenden llamar la atención sobre una política de represión que el Estado mexicano ha instaurado desde hace por lo menos 50 años y que quienes las lean, conozcan algunos detalles de las vidas de las personas a quienes desde el poder se les quiso borrar desapareciéndoles, pero que pese al tiempo, la incertidumbre, la impunidad, la simulación y la crueldad permanentes, continúan presentes desde la memoria y el afecto, con la esperanza de que más temprano que tarde sean regresados al hogar que los añora todos los días, todo el tiempo.

1.5 Gen Migrant Analyses: Why I do this Work | Alejandra Mejía

When I first stumbled upon the term “1.5 generation immigrant” in college, I felt like it more closely captured my experience, rather than first or second generation immigrant labels. The deep disconnect I felt from all the nations which I belong to: at birth, Honduras, Panamá until age 11, and then the United States. Holding this in-between identity has allowed me to develop a distinct and critical understanding of global migration and a commitment to the work of Migrant Roots Media (MRM).