Clouds (in response to immigration raids)
From small towns to the inner city, immigration has brought many changes for Minnesota in the last twenty years. While many long-time Minnesotans make positive attempts to build relationships with their new neighbors, the fact remains that there are two classes of citizens: those who can work legally, and those who can't. Those who can vote, and those who can't. Those who can hold a legal driver's license and insurance, and those who can't. Those whose educational future is wide open, and those who must fight for access to in-state tuition rates.
When I thought about what to make for this corner, I thought of how two weeks earlier, an immigration raid had disrupted daily business on Bloomington and Lake, just down the block. The immigration raids which have been striking with increasing frequency were no longer happening in remote towns across the state - they had violated MY neighborhood. I decided to address this in the work I created for the Shoebox.
My initial impulse was to put up something inflammatory that would move people to action. However, reviewing footage from the Bloom-Lake raids, I realized that I couldn't put that type of imagery back into the neighborhood. In a climate of fear, I wanted to make something that would offer peace and connection.
At the same time, I went to Austin to document families affected by an immigration raid. Days before I arrived, police had barged into homes, demanding papers, arresting people who had been living and working in that community for twenty years. Arriving with my camera, I found an undocumented community paralyzed by fear. I could hear children moving behind doors that wouldn't open to us. Instead of photographing families, I took pictures of the clouds, and some of the landscapes that to me are symbolic of our changing population.
Minnesota is a beautiful state in which, under the same sky, ugly things happen. I suppose you could say this about nearly anywhere, but in this era of legally sanctioned raids, it feels particularly true. I will continue to fight for a more just immigration system that respects the contributions of all workers and restores dignity to our immigrant neighbors and friends.
Quito Ziegler is a photographer and the co-founder of the Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network. She has documented Latino teenagers and immigrant families in Minnesota, created public art projects such as the Minnesota Family Project, and is currently a masters student at the International Center of Photography in New York.
Quito Ziegler can be reached at email@example.com.
For more information on the raids, please contact the Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network at 651-287-0660
Curator (Visual Arts)
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