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Latinx Heritage Month: Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer, letter to abuelita

Woman crying with thought bubble “How can one man be so hateful?” And an excerpt from a letter, “Dear Abuelita, I hope that you are doing well. I so wish that I could visit you but things have gotten near impossible for me to travel safely to our rancho and be able to return. I miss you so much and am worried about your health. Please take care of yourself and hang in there. I want to see you again once the situation improves. You Nieta.”

Panel from Dr. Alberto Ledesma’s book, Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer.

Latinx Heritage Month continues with a second illustration from artist and writer Dr. Alberto Ledesma.

Ledesma, of the University of California, Berkeley is a virtual visiting artist with the Latin American and Latino/a Studies program. His Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer: Undocumented Vignettes from a Pre-American Life (2017) uses art to help illustrate the multitude of feelings, fears, and experiences that immigrant youths struggle with while simultaneously trying to understand their sense of identity in the United States given their undocumented status.

boy sleeping under a U.S. flag

Cover of Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer: Undocumented Vignettes from a Pre-American Life by Albert Ledesma.

The second illustration we are sharing of his work, captures the predicaments of undocumented Latino workers as they struggle to provide for themselves and their families during such a difficult time in history.

Ledesma shared what inspired him to produce this particular illustration: “I was inspired to create this piece by the constant process of dehumanization that the Trump Administration exploits in order to advance its anti-immigrant of color agenda. It is as if they are suggesting that the people who have chosen to brave the difficult process of migrating to the United States in search of work have lives that are not worthy of empathy. What happens to the familial bonds that are stretched during this travail? Where does the affection felt by kin go when immigrants are relegated to transactional lives where the only thing that matters is whether they filled the right form or paid the right fee, especially given that for Latin American immigrants it is virtually impossible to gain legal entry into the United States since 2016. I wanted to draw attention, from the point of view of an Abuelita, to the xenophobic nature of these policies which require those immigrants who remain to stay invisible and quiet so as to keep their minimum-wage jobs.” (Alberto Ledesma)

See the first illustration in the series.

ISU’s Latin American and Latino/a Studies (LALS) program marks Latinx Heritage Month as a moment to learn and empathize with the plight of Latino families in the Americas in the midst of a world pandemic.

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