Thursday, October 10, 2013

I have a name

Ihave a name is a project that sets out to illustrate, through photos and biographies, that the often nameless, faceless migrants trying to enter the U.S. from Latin America are real people...individuals with names, faces, and histories.

For the past eighteen months, Tom Feher, a talented photographer, and I have been working on this project in Mexico. Tom has been taking photos of Latin American migrants passing through a shelter in Oaxaca, Mexico on their way to the U.S., and I’ve been interviewing them. Our goal is to produce a movable exposition of 30 or more life-sized photos and written vignettes that will convey what we’ve been learning firsthand--that it’s one thing to have a concept such as “migrant,” “migrant worker,” “undocumented worker,” or “illegal alien,” and quite another to know people as individuals with their own names, faces, life stories and dreams.

The inspiration for this project came to Tom when a neighbor of his in Seattle kept referring to a worker as “Jose” or “the Mexican.” When Tom spoke with “Jose,” he found out that he was neither Mexican nor named Jose. That was the catalyst for I have a name. Tom and I want to do what we can to let people meet the usually nameless and faceless migrants who pick our food, staff our restaurants, build our houses and maintain our homes. We think this approach has the potential to change hearts and minds. We’ve now interviewed and photographed 18 men and women, about half the number we want for the exposition. We’ve lined up our first venue, Trinity Church in Boston, for December, 2014.

Putting together an exhibit like this will require considerable financial support. Tom has calculated the material and transportation costs of the project at about $25,000. We hope to raise this amount through the funding site Any contribution you can make, from $1.00 up, will help. You can see more about the project and contribute if you wish by clicking here or on any of the links above. And, if you feel as we do that this is a worthwhile project, please send this note on to some of your friends or associates.

Thanks very much for your time and attention, and, hopefully, your support.

Robert Adler