The United States is home to over 41 million immigrants. That is 13% of the population. Millions more have parents who migrated here and live in communities that are directly affected by immigration policies.
Beginning in the summer of 2016, UNIS partnered with Proof: Media for Social Justice and the New York State Youth Leadership Council (the first undocumented youth led organization in New York) to offer a human rights photography program focused on immigration in the US.
The topic was selected by students who were deeply disturbed by the narratives of fear and xenophobia, as well as the "othering" and scapegoating of immigrants during the 2016 US presidential campaign.
Students from UNIS and 8 other NYC high schools met with lawyers, academics and immigrant activists working on reform. They listened to and transcribed the stories of undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers, and took their portraits.
The culmination of this project was a photo exhibit called (un)DOCUMENTED. The exhibit tells the stories of those who fled poverty and violence and were met by racism in the US, questions the notion that humans can be illegal, debunks myths of immigrants as "bad hombres" and job stealers, shines a light on the human rights impacts of immigration policies, profiles local activists who have brought about change and raises important questions of justice and belonging in the US. It has been on display at several locations in NYC including at Photoville in 2017. Scroll down for a link to the online version of (un)DOCUMENTED.
Students photograph Denia and her two sons who fled gang violence in Honduras in 2014.