Illustration from Hear My Voice / Eschucha Mi Voz by Daniela Martín del Campo
Art as Advocacy highlights four artistic projects that were inspired by the sworn testimonies of children arriving to the United States in 2019. The children reported being taken into custody by the U.S. government shortly after arrival and having almost all their belongings taken away.
Many were separated from their families. Infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school-age children, and teenagers were forced to sleep on concrete floors for days on end with nothing to warm them except, occasionally, a mylar blanket. The lucky ones would secure a coveted spot on a concrete block, or one of the bunks where the children would sleep in shifts, 3-4 at a time. Others were sent to sleep in tents in the desert surrounded by razor wire. The children described rancid food that they could not eat and water that smelled and tasted like bleach. There were no showers, soap, toothpaste, or toothbrushes. Girls expressed their shame in having to use toilets in open view of strangers. Illness was widespread and a lice infestation had broken out. There was no schooling, no books, no play. The children were seldom allowed outside. Some had been left in these conditions for weeks.
When the children’s sworn declarations with their brutal details were made public, the artistic community responded with fiery indignation and determination to ensure that the children’s voices would be heard, and their stories would be known. Although numerous initiatives were undertaken, Art as Advocacy highlights four: DYKWTCA (Do You Know Where the Children Are?), an art exhibit organized by conceptual artists; Hear My Voice/Escucha Mi Voz, an award-winning children’s book that interweaves the children’s testimonies with illustrations by a team of Latinx illustrators; 365 days…., an art campaign undertaken by an educational technologist who swore to paint an original watercolor embedded with a child’s quote every day until all the children detained were released from custody; and BorderX, a comics anthology organized by an MIT faculty member who teaches comics art.
Discussion with international children's rights scholar and advocate Warren Binford, JD, Ed.M, artist Juls Mendoza, and AHEC Mural Program Manager Frank Garza, moderated by David Weil at 5:15pm.
Fulginiti Pavilion for Bioethics and Humanities
13080 E. 19th Ave.
Aurora, CO 80045
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This reception also celebrates the mural, "Fly to Heal" by Denver-based artist Juls Mendoza, who migrated from Cd, Juarez Mexico in 2001 when he was 11 years old. Juls understands firsthand the trauma that some children experience during that journey. When Juls left Mexico, he lost a childhood filled with play, friendship, and adventure. Despite these losses, Juls chose to create a mural depicting a spirit of courage and hope. This mural on the west side of the Fulginiti honors children arriving to the United States and celebrates their strength and resilience.