Who is Caring for Migrants and Refugees?

March 5, 2019 – New York University’s Hemispheric Institute has launched the Ecologies of Migrant Care web site, a digital platform featuring interviews with migrants, activists, faith leaders, journalists, academics, and others supporting migrants and refugees and chronicling their circumstances across the Americas.

Along with nearly 100 transcribed and translated interviews recorded in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, and the United States, the site also contains photo galleries, artistic interventions, news updates, and additional resources, including information on upcoming events and new scholarship.

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“The Institute has created and made these resources available in the hopes that others will use them to spotlight, amplify, and strengthen these vital efforts,” explains Diana Taylor, director of the Hemispheric Institute.

Ecologies of Migrant Care, supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, aims to document diverse responses to the region-wide humanitarian emergency confronting refugee migrants from Central America.

“In the face of enormous risks, persistent violence, and the indifference or hostility of governments, these ‘ecologies of migrant care’ have emerged to defend and demand the rights of millions of people, both in place and in transit, in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, across Mexico, and throughout the United States,” adds Taylor, a professor in NYU’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures and in the Department of Performance Studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

The site’s video interviews are made available in Spanish and English, with transcripts and translations, along with information on the featured organizations.

“Ecologies of Migrant Care is at once a rich resource, a moving testament, and a striking call to action for each one of us on the most important moral and political question of our time,” says Kate Doyle, senior analyst of U.S. policy in Latin America at the National Security Archive.

“Ecologies of Migrant Care is a crucial and innovative research tool for anyone interested in the Latin America’s humanitarian migration crisis, regardless of whether they are already knowledgeable about the subject or new to the topic,” adds Jason De León, a 2017 MacArthur Fellow and an anthropologist at the University of Michigan. “Its intuitive interface and rich content make it an easily accessible and much-needed platform to make sense of the complicated topic of migration across the Americas. It is a particularly useful tool for anyone teaching immigration issues to undergraduate students.”

“Ecologies of Migrant Care is one of the most important living archives of migration in the Central America-U.S. corridor,” says Alexandra Délano Alonso, associate professor and chair of Global Studies at the New School. “It is an invaluable resource and an essential tool for scholars, educators, students, and advocates to understand the structural conditions for migrant expulsion.” 

“This is a human library, broad and varied in scope–from scholars who analyze public policies to activists and journalists who have for years walked the routes of undocumented Central Americans,” notes Óscar Martínez, author of The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail. “In good measure, the Hemispheric Institute has resolved the needs of anyone wanting to immerse themselves in this humanitarian crisis. Here, they have a resource that cannot be ignored that offers a wonderful point of departure for understanding a phenomenon of such complexity.”

Among those included on the Ecologies of Migrant Care site are:

  • Marta Sánchez Soler, founder of the Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano, which organizes the annual “Mothers Caravan” of family members searching for loved ones who have disappeared in transit
  • Reverend John Fife, a Tucson-based Presbyterian minister and organizer of the original Sanctuary Movement
  • Bruce Anderson, a forensic anthropologist with the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner, which works to identify the remains of migrants who have died in the Arizona desert
  • Reverend Renee McKenzie, pastor of the Church of the Advocate in North Philadelphia, a historically African-American church that has welcomed Carmela Hernández and her four children, who fled Mexico, into sanctuary
  • Carolina Jiménez Sandoval, deputy research director for the Americas at Amnesty International;
  • Blanca Arelí Gómez, a Salvadoran mother who lost both her son and brother as they traveled northward toward the United States and member of the Comité de Familiares de Migrantes Fallecidos y Desaparecidos de El Salvador (COFAMIDE)
  • Jamila Hammami, founder of the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP), a New York-based community organization that advocates for LGBTQIA* GNC TS migrants
  • Fray Tomás González, a Franciscan friar and director of the Migrant Shelter la 72 in Tenosique, Mexico, recognized for its work supporting LGBTI refugees and asylum-seekers

The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University connects artists, scholars, and activists from across the Americas and creates new avenues for collaboration and action. Focusing on social justice, it researches politically engaged performance and seeks to amplify it through gatherings, courses, publications, and archives. Its dynamic, multilingual network traverses disciplines and borders and is grounded in the fundamental belief that artistic practice and critical reflection can spark lasting cultural change. For more, please visit hemisphericinstitute.org.

Ecologies of Migrant Care is an initiative of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University that aims to research, document, and make visible the region-wide humanitarian emergency that is resulting from the ongoing expulsion of refugees and migrants from Central America, and to chronicle the diverse and widespread responses to this situation by individuals, communities of faith, non-governmental organizations, and social movements across the region. This work is supported by the Henry Luce Foundation. For more, please visit https://migration.hemi.press/.

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