Given the current crisis state of American immigration, it can be easy to forget that the majority of Americans came to the country from somewhere else. Nation of Newcomers puts a focus on this reality by sharing real and diverse experiences of immigration. The project also has a personal significance for the team; like myself, videographer de la Cruz and photographer Silva both came to the United States in the early 1990s with their families, while Natalie's family has roots in Poland and Britain.
This project started with a simple Facebook post from 2017. “Where did your family immigrate to America from?” I put up on his feed without much consideration. A few hours & 200+ comments later, it was clear that it touched a nerve.
People gleefully typed succinct responses while others took a moment to ask their parents a bit more about their families past. By nightfall, I was refreshing the post, excited to see what stories came out of it. Natalie, Jose and Vianel were really active on the thread and reached out, expressing interest on turning this into something larger.
Nation of Newcomers is just the beginning. It’s our internet baby that was weaned off of comments and turned into a tangible piece platform we are proud to present to you now. As a nation we claim the immigrant work ethic as central to the American dream, but rarely do we give each other the opportunity to tell the stories of what brought us here.
This is art made from listening. This is art with the purpose of giving context.