In the year 2000, the United Nations proclaimed December 18th International Migrants Day, drawing attention to the booming population of migrants worldwide, whose needs are often unmet and rights overlooked. Since 2000, the total number of international migrants has increased from 175 million to 232 million. One of every ten migrants is under the age of 15. Migrant remittances (money sent home) totals over $400 billion per year—nearly four times the value of development assistance programs.
While everything in our global system—from extreme weather, to integrated currencies, cheap consumer goods and transnational corporations—moves untrammeled, the transnational migrant workforce is subject to anachronistic laws and outmoded notions of nationality that no longer reflect the complex working and living arrangements necessary to sustain this economic revolution.
The U.N. has passed a Declaration condemning manifestations of racism and intolerance, and emphasizing the need to improve public perceptions of migrants and migration. It calls on the international community to address migrants’ needs for safe and orderly migration, internationally recognized labor and housing standards, and to respect their human rights.
On the micro level, each of these international migrants has a compelling story of risk, loss, determination, desperation and opportunity.
In 2013, MiHistoria.net traveled from City College San Francisco, to the Latino Producers Academy in Santa Fe, to Teachers 4 Social Justice Bay Area. We met with first gen students, Dream activists, domestic workers, and Latinas from all walks of life. They told us passionate, funny, heartbreaking and courageous stories—and a great many of them were about migration.
So in honor of all these journeys, MiHistoria.net is making a special call for migration stories. Read about a young indigenous cross-country runner who speaks three languages and a mother who left her children behind to support them. Explore the magical realism of Guatemalan artist Paula Nicho Cúmez, whose vibrant painting Crusando Fronteras (Crossing Borders) pays homage to the women who travel across international boundaries, often leaving home on their own in search of a better life.
Read these and other stories—and share your own journey on MiHistoria.net
A very special thank you to BAVC, Jen Gilomen and our fellows from the 2013 MediaMaker Fellowship for their guidance, generosity and good humor!
Albertina Zarazúa Padilla & Laurie Coyle