Inside Out/Dreamers Celebrates Dreamers & Diversity in Miami

Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood is always bursting with the sights and sounds of myriad cultures. Thanks to Inside Out/Dreamers, the many faces of Miami locals are now on display, too. The Inside Out photobooth truck (the global participatory art project by award-winning artist JR) spent two days in Little Haiti in November, turning an already-artful mural into a statement celebrating diversity, immigration, and Dreamers — the estimated 2 million young undocumented immigrants raised as Americans, but who currently have no pathway to citizenship in the United States.

During this crucial time leading up to a Congressional vote on the Dream Act, more than 230 Dreamers, immigrants, and allies came out to take their portraits and share their stories. Here are just a few.

Follow along on Instagram with #IOPDreamers.

“I am a Dreamer”

Adrian came to the United States from Chile at the age of three.

“I have DACA, I am a Dreamer, and I am directly affected by the end of DACA and whether or not the Dream Act passes.

“To apply for DACA, we had to give USCIS and DHS all of our information, so if the Dream Act doesn’t pass, then immigration could easily look for us and deport us and that’s obviously not what we want. We want to stay here, stay in the country that we’ve known our whole lives. I came here when I was three years old and I’m 29 right now, so I’ve spent 26 years of my life living in Miami, and I want to stay here and contribute to society.

“What if the Dream Act passes? I just got goose bumps thinking about it. I know how hard it was in 2010 when it failed. If it does pass it’d probably be one of the best days of my life.”

“If it does pass it’d probably be one of the best days of my life.” — Adrian

“We are an important part of American history”

Hoppy is a Little Havana resident and immigrant activist.

“Living here is like waking up in Haiti, it’s the closest thing to being in Haiti. The roosters wake you up at 5 am and you hear the music, the culture, and the colors.

“As for the Dream Act, this country was not built for one specific person, it was built as a community, that’s why it’s called the United States, everybody unites to make this county what it is. Quite frankly, Haiti helped this country gain its independence. So we are an important part of American history and the Haitian people also belong here, all of us building this country together. The U.S. does not belong to one specific person or race, it belongs to people from all around the world.”

“This country was not built for one specific person.” — Hoppy

“They’ve been there through it all”

Juliette (center) is a DACA recipient who was born in Venezuela and has lived in the U.S. since she was four years old. Kamilah (left) and Tanisha (right), U.S. citizens, came to show support for their friend.

Juliette: “I am undocumented — well DACAmented — and I am here with my two great friends. They’ve known me since before DACA, so they were there when I got DACA and learned how to drive for the first time, when I got a license, when I opened a bank account, got my first ‘legal’ job — trust me, they’ve been there through it all. It’s sad, though, because it’s been how many years? And nothing has been able to pass. We’re really, really hoping and pushing for the clean Dream Act this year. It’s really time to use your voice and be civically engaged, because if not it’ll be another ten years without a Dream Act and we’re going to be in our forties and still undocumented.

“I’m a junior at Florida International University, working full-time, and volunteering full-time at a hospital. I’m deciding between nursing or pre-med. I’m waiting on a few things to decide, including the Dream Act, because a lot of medical schools aren’t accepting DACA students. A clean Dream Act would be so appreciated right now. It would give me more peace of mind and less stress.”

Tanisha: “Juliette has blown us away. She’s so optimistic, positive, hard-working. She doesn’t let her undocumented status hinder her from moving forward. DACA is just a stepping stone for her. She is going to blossom even more when the Dream Act passes and she can apply for citizenship. As a citizen myself, I don’t want to see my friend go through all this struggle, so I want to help and do what I can. As a friend, I’m just as passionate as she is, a fighter like she is, and I want change. Anything I can do to show my support, I am there.”

“She is going to blossom even more when the Dream Act passes and she can apply for citizenship.” — Tanisha

“We are not going to be free until all of us are free”

Nery (left) and Paula (right) wear matching “undocumented” shirts they got from Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER).

Nery: “This shirt signifies a lot, because “undocumented” is who I am. It represents my immigrant community, my family, and the organization I’m a part of. It gives me the confidence to go out and be who I am without being judged. And this shirt brings awareness to what’s going on right now with DACA, TPS, the Dream Act, etc.”

Paula: “I am an immigrant and for those of us that got lucky and were able to attain some status, we need to wake the heck up and realize that we are not going to be free until all of us are free. It starts with our undocumented community and our communities of color and those that are struggling.

“As an immigrant that only got my citizenship after 15 years of being here, I have felt the importance of having someone be your voice in a system that is keeping you voiceless. There are 11 million undocumented voices out there that can’t make their voices heard on an official ballot. It’s our duty now that we did get that privilege to stand side by side and let them lead the way and support them however they need.”

“There are 11 million undocumented voices out there that can’t make their voices heard on an official ballot.” — Paula

“We will continue fighting”

Ivette was formerly undocumented, and today is a U.S. citizen and artist based in Miami.

“Everybody deserves the opportunity to thrive and survive… I’m not undocumented anymore, but I was in that position when the first Dream Act failed, so I remember what that meant for me at the time. If the Dream Act passes I’ll be really, really, really happy for all my friends who will be able to get some relief, but it’s not even close to what our community deserves and what we should get, so we will continue fighting for comprehensive immigration reform and beyond.

“I was only able to become a citizen after I got married. The difference has been night and day. Before, I couldn’t get a driver’s license, a normal job, I couldn’t apply for universities, I couldn’t apply for scholarships unless they were private. Being undocumented stopped my life and put it on hold. As soon I got my papers, I instantly got a job, was able to pay for tuition, could apply for FAFSA, I was able to move out of my parents’ house — my life went into overdrive. I consider myself pretty successful now. I’m a college graduate, I have a nice job at a non-profit that I really love, and I’m pretty happy. But if I was still undocumented, the road to where I am now would be nearly impossible.”

“Everybody deserves the opportunity to thrive and survive.” —Ivette

Your Next Steps

Remaining Tour Dates

  • Houston, TX — Tuesday, December 5-Wednesday, December 6
  • Memphis, TN — Friday, December 8
  • Nashville, TN — Monday, December 11
  • Lancaster, PA — Wednesday, December 13
  • Reading, PA — Thursday, December 14
  • Philadelphia, PA — Friday, December 15-Saturday, December 16
  • Washington, DC — Monday, December 18-Tuesday, December 19
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