Through the power of images and words, the exhibit captures what life is like for undocumented youth and their families.
If you missed the photography exhibit “DACAmented Voices in Health” at the YMCA of Southern Arizona last month, it is now available to view on this website.
Through the power of images and words, the exhibit captures what life is like for undocumented youth and their families. The exhibit is part of a research project by Sofía Gómez, a doctoral candidate in public health policy and management at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
Gómez started the project years ago, where she looked at healthcare experiences of mixed immigration status families. In a lot of these households, the younger siblings may be U.S. citizens, others qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and the parents are undocumented.
DACAmented Voices in Healthcare examines the health impact of these borders and divisions on immigrant youth and their families. Over a period of time, seven DACAmented youth met to share and discuss their health experiences through personal essays, poems, photographs and policy recommendations. They share their innermost thoughts and struggles, in hopes that their experiences will develop our understanding of them as human beings and how our fragmented immigration and healthcare systems effect families in our community.
The importance of hearing their voices is particularly critical during an election year that has revealed extreme and polarizing attitudes towards immigrants particularly immigrants of Mexican descent. Not surprisingly, the youth’s words and photographs illustrate stories of discrimination, fear, depression, stress, and exclusion but also of great strength, resiliency, love and unity. Collectively, they want to bring light and healing to themselves and our community.
Health is the ultimate human denominator, as illness and healing transcend socioeconomic status, race, gender, sexual orientation and geographic boundaries. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” It is our moral and collective responsibility to provide support and health services to everyone in need.
“We hope this exhibit offers new perspectives and a lens through which people can look at our community and the role we can all play in building healthy communities that cultivate a deeper understanding, mutual respect and compassion,” said Gómez.
Read more about the exhibit: