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Latinx Heritage Month: Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer, caring for a sick brother

Drawing of a woman with a child wearing a surgical mask. The panel reads: You have deported my parents and left me all alone to care for my sick little brother. Don’t insult me by telling your policies are not guided by anti-immigrant racism.

An illustration from artist and writer Dr. Alberto Ledesma.

Latinx Heritage Month continues with a third 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.

The third illustration we are sharing of his work encapsulates the multitude of feelings and struggles that separated family members face due to immigrant policies.

See the second illustration in the series.

Ledesma shares with us what inspired him to create this illustration and more importantly, to publish Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer: Undocumented Vignettes from a Pre-American Life.

“Being undocumented had had such a profound impact on the shaping of my and my family’s cultural identities that I was eager to understand the many ways that that experience had also been represented in the collection of books and stories contained by Chicano literature. But, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when I was in graduate school, there seemed to be few works that placed undocumented characters as the protagonists of their stories. This confused me, because I knew that there were millions of undocumented people living in the same neighborhoods like the one where I grew up. And I knew that several million undocumented immigrants had just gone through the federal amnesty process that my family and I had just gone through. Surely, I thought, some Mexican American authors must have written stories that focused on experiences like mine”.

ISU’s Latin American and Latino/a Studies (LALS) program marks Latinx Heritage Month as a moment to educate ourselves about struggles that Latino families in the Americas may be going through in the midst of a world pandemic.

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