Standing 68 feet tall for a large number of explorers on the I-95 exchange to witness, a photograph of a local immigrant is featured on the south face of the iconic Pirelli reminding us of the guarantees of the American dream: life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.
On Tuesday, May 1, 2018, the first of 53 different photographs of the “WE ARE: A Nation of Immigrants” series, which will feature local immigrants and refugees was unveiled at the iconic Pirelli building on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. The photograph of Paulina will be displayed on the Pirelli Building until the end of June.
Paulina, featured in the mural, shares her heroic journey during an interview which can be found on her page. As Paulina recounts her journey, she states, “It took me three weeks to get to the United States from Guatemala……my nine-year-old son and I traveled by bus and the ‘Train of the Beast’ to get here. It was called the Train of the Beast because you have to ride on the top of the train, not inside, and sometimes people fall off because it is traveling at such a high speed. I am very thankful that we arrived safely.”
Paulina’s story reminds us of the obstacles faced by many in pursuit of freedom, safety, and the promises of a free nation. We have always been a nation of immigrants. A nation that was built on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These iconic murals and stories serve as a visual reminder of the beautiful mosaic of difference that is interwoven in the fabric of this nation. Paulina and others featured in the exhibit are apart of what makes America great. We have a duty to honor their stories and uplift their voices.
Joe’s commitment to using his skills to stand in solidarity with immigrants in New Haven and across the nation inspires us to examine how we too can use our gifts for social change. It commands our attention to explore ways to engage in matters may not affect us directly,y, even when we are not the target of injustices. We all have a place and responsibility to address injustices of any form. This powerful exhibit can engage all who pass through, in a dialogue across experiences to achieve social change.
On June 8th, 2018 on the New Haven Green, Joe Standart and other dynamic speakers will host an opening celebration. The celebration will unveil additional photos in the 53 photo series which will be placed on the New Haven Green, the New Haven Public Library, and the churches on the Green.
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