Inside Out 11M Hits the Road
Posted October 2021
The participatory art project visited 16 cities in AZ, CO, MI, PA, WI, and D.C. to urge Congress to create pathways to citizenship for the 11M undocumented immigrants in America.
The pandemic exposed and exploited deep social inequities across race, class, and immigration status—and ushered in a moment of national urgency across a range of areas. On at least one front, there is a clear first step, supported by supermajorities of American voters: creating a path to citizenship for those who have long been Americans.
In collaboration with renowned artist JR’s Inside Out Project, #InsideOut11M spoke to this moment by urging Congress to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, farmworkers, essential workers, and all 11 million undocumented immigrants in America. The participatory public art project, which kicked off on August 26 in Madison, WI, traveled to 16 cities in 7 states, capturing portraits of people across the U.S. to show a fuller American story.
The project provided communities and local leaders a unique platform to amplify their voices, share their untold stories, and transform messages of personal identity into works of public art. Longtime Inside Out Project crewmember Luis Gomez, who immigrated to the U.S. from Colombia in 2008, joined the team as a volunteer for the first Inside Out 11M tour in 2013.
It’s magical, when people see this giant photo of themselves. It banishes any boundaries and you start connecting with people you don’t know.
“Passing pathways to citizenship into law will change the minds of everyone about who [immigrants] are and how our civil rights should be the same no matter where we come from,” said Gomez. “It’s magical, when people see this giant photo of themselves. It banishes any boundaries and you start connecting with people you don’t know. ”
In Phoenix, local architect Esteban Loya shared that he resonates with 11M’s focus on creating pathways to citizenship, sharing that his parents came to the U.S. illegally before gaining amnesty in the ‘80s.
“I empathize with immigrants today who are stuck in limbo,” he said. “Congress should make it possible for people like my parents to come to this country and create lives here. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for their hard work and ability to stay legally.”