Border Crossing

January 31, 2009

Immigration is a hot-button political issue, but two recent exhibits at the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) provided insights into the human dimensions of America's changing demographics.

“Nuestras Historias, Nuestros Sueños/Our Stories, Our Dreams,” a collaborative project between CDS and Student Action with Farmworkers, focused on the experiences of Latino immigrants living and working in North Carolina. Combining photographs and audio recordings to amplify the voices of Latino migrant youth and their families, the project involved undergraduate students, interns from across the country, faculty members, seasoned documentarians, and young people from farmworker families.

“Border Stories” featured photographs and interview excerpts from documentary projects by students who participated in two CDS courses and one summer field experience on the U.S.—Mexico border.

As the state with the country's fastest-growing immigrant population, North Carolina is uniquely positioned to inform political debate. “Our hope in engaging in this documentary work was not only to learn about immigrant workers but also to foster a deep respect of the rights of all of North Carolina's inhabitants,” the students explained in their statement for “Border Stories.” As part of the class, they produced and distributed a bilingual booklet titled "North Carolina Immigrant Activism."