migrar (link here for a short video)
They remember the minute they arrived. But they also remember why they came and why and how their lives have changed.
They talk about the frustrations, loneliness, isolation. But also they speak about new chances, new lives, new doors that wouldn’t have opened for them.
They are stories of joy and sadness, victories against obstacles and obstacles that still weigh down on them. They are the everyday stories told here in the photo and written display by the people, whose photos fills the walls of Casa Michoacan in the Pilsen neighborhood.
At the display’s recent opening at one of the city’s oldest and largest Mexican-American organization, it was a moment of pride, of looking up proudly at its own face. Natalia Olivaries, a young Latina, who learned her photography at a Chicago community college, captured the images. The Chicago Cultural Alliance provided support as part of its year long effort to tell the stories of Chicago’s families. So, too, support came from Mexico’s National Council for Arts and Cultures.
They are stories as a one man said at the opening of the display of humanity and the human desire to see, to hear, to travel, to better oneself.
“My life is here with my wife and son. I do not think back now. I took root here,” a man says in the booklet that accompanies the display.
“Although in Mexico I did not have a chance to progress, today I can, even in a country that is not mine,” a woman explains.
“At the end of the day, migrating is bittersweet. It was worth coming for my daughter I have here, but not for the daughter that was left behind in Mexico,” another woman says.
Another woman says: “I worked. I fought. I stumbled but in the end I moved on. I accomplished lots of things: having my family, a business, becoming an entrepreneur, triumph, being defeated and starting over. So yes, I think it was worth it.”