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Casos de Justicia: ¡Campaña Para Legalizar La Venta Ambulante!

From the streets of Los Angeles, food vendors turned activists draw on photography, audio and video to tell their stories and advocate for the legalization of their livelihoods. This fotonovela is developed collaboratively with street vendors and community organizers from the East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC). While street vending is permitted in other large cities like New York, San Francisco, Houston, Portland and Chicago, current city-wide policies criminalize and restrict street vendors with impunity, thwarting their ability to thrive in Los Angeles. Street vendors firmly believe if the public can read, see, and hear the injustices they encounter simply for working and attempting to provide for their families, they will receive public support in their efforts to legalize. At this critical juncture, it is important to produce knowledge that informs policy makers, stakeholders, and the general public about the daily contributions of street vendors to the local economy.


Desaparecid@s: Brown Bodies Disappeared & Divided by Borders

From families to children, this Augmented Fotonovela includes photographs, short films, video interviews, documentary footage, audio material, poetry, and Augmented Reality (AR) software. This fotonovela accompanies the body of work developed by members of the Chicana/o Studies Doctoral cohort in a Community Cultural Development course offered by the Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana/o Studies and SPARC, a community-based non-profit arts organization. The fotonovela was part of the imersive visual exhibition that audiences could take home and continue to interact with long after the exhibition had ended.  Just as the exhibition, the fotonovela emerges as an attempt to convey a parallel between the Latin American experience with U.S. Violent interventions, such as the cases of Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, and Argentina. For us, the metaphor underlying this parallel is the concept of desaparecid@s (the disappeared). As a collective, we sought to challenge the idea that families should be lawfully separated from each other and disrupt majoritarian stories that normalize highly militarized inhumane practices such as detention and deportation justified under “the law is the law” rhetoric. Through the Augmented Fotonovela, the stories and lives of traditionally obscured migrants who have survived their dissappearances or are currently in a desaparecid@s status speak to you.

Predatory Financial, Legal, & Political Landscapes in Phoenix, AZ

Engaging the community of Phoenix, Arizona in a discussion of economic exclusion during the context of SB 1070 through an augmented fotonovela in order to understand how Latina/o lives are constricted legally, politically, and economically under current immigration laws. In collaboration with Latina/o grassroots group Puente Arizona, community members, activists, artists, designers, and photographers began the co-production of a visually engaging project that challenges racist nativist framing of Latina/o communities that justifies efforts of economic exclusion from U.S. society.  Using video, archival and contemporary photos, community members uncover how history, geography, and race have shaped the financial access of residents of South Phoenix.  The project illuminates how immigration laws economically devastate Latina/o neighborhoods by weakening social networks, compounding the proliferation of payday lending, yet illustrates the many instances where Latina/o immigrants are pushing back against economic domination through the informal economy and small ethnic businesses. 


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