Things That Matter

This Video Of A Mexicana And Her Parents Reuniting After 23 Years Is A Reminder That Conservatives Have Immigration Wrong

So many immigrants are all too familiar with the feeling of homesickness. From the food, the language, the culture of one’s own country, it’s an incredibly difficult process to leave a familiar life in pursuit of a something new. But perhaps most difficult of all is saying hasta luego to loved ones—sometimes for years, or, in many cases, even decades.

For Twitter user @aashleylozano, watching her mother and grandparents reunite for the first time in 23 years was a heartwarming experience that inspired many people to share their own stories of reunion and reconnection.

@aashleylozano recorded her mama as she approached her parents, @aashleylozano’s abuelos in the Portland International Airport. The three of them embrace tearfully in a moment of sheer joy, savoring the fact that they could finally hug each other after 23 years apart.

According to @aashleylozano, her mother left Petatlan, Guerrero, Mexico, due to struggles with @aashleylozano’s father. In order to separate herself from the conflict, @aashleylozano’s mom moved the family to the U.S., eventually ending up in Oregon. And after spending two decades apart, @aashleylozano’s abuelos finally got their visas approved and were able to make their way to the Pacific Northwest for a visit.

The video garnered an enthusiastic response from other immigrants (and second-generation folks), eager to share their own experiences with being separated—and reunited—with family after too much time apart.

This Latina shared a video of her dad reuniting with her abuelo.

This Latina shared a video of her mom and her tías reuniting with their parents after 15 years apart.

This Latina expressed her gratitude for belonging to a family who is lucky enough to be together. She also acknowledged the sacrifices her parents made to provide her with a better life, which is enough to give anyone escalofríos.

Many people mentioned that they couldn’t imagine being so far away from their parents for such a long time, like this Twitter user, who lamented the fact that families ever need to separate, offering hope for a better future:

This Twitter user was also optimistic, wishing that all immigrant families could experience this family’s joy:

And this Twitter user encouraged others to put themselves in immigrants’ shoes, imagining how difficult it would be to form a whole new life, in a whole new country, with a totally different culture:

Many of the replies to @aashleylozano’s original video were from people who simply had a strong emotional response to her family’s reunion. Seemingly endless tears were shed from people overwhelmed with happiness for this family finally coming together, but a lot of folks were also saddened by the fact that they were apart for so long, as so many immigrant families are. But the majority of responses were deeply positive, with people celebrating the reunion and offering blessings and well wishes for their future.

Although many people shared their own beautiful stories of reunion, many also drew attention to the difficulties of being away from family. Several Twitter users cited the deaths of grandparents that occurred while their parents were establishing new lives in the US, describing many missed opportunities to spend time with loved ones because of immigration restrictions and challenging life circumstances.

This Twitter user expressed gratitude for the fact that her mother only had to go 4-5 years without seeing her parents (which is still a super long time!), but that her uncle wasn’t as lucky, as he was never able to return to Mexico to see his parents before they passed.

This Latina’s mother has also gone more than 25 years without seeing her mama, and she acknowledged her excitement to bring her mama and her abuela together again—especially since her mama didn’t get to see her dad before he passed away two years ago.

This Latina hasn’t seen her own mom for 5 years, and @aashleylozano’s video took her through a rollercoaster of emotions.

The internet can be an amazing tool for staying connected and for offering support to people who share our most challenging experiences. No matter what one’s experience with immigration might be, it’s almost always bittersweet, with moments of joy, moments of grief, and everything in between. And interactions like @aashleylozano’s family reunion remind us to cherish the time we have with our loved ones, and to remain optimistic about what the future might hold for us and the people we care about most.

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New York Times Square New Years Eve Celebration Canceled

Culture

New York Times Square New Years Eve Celebration Canceled

Stefano / Flickr

For the first time in 114 years, the Times Square New Years Eve party has been canceled. The famous New Year’s Eve gathering is a major part of the New Year’s Eve celebration with people cramming into Times Square to watch the ball drop to mark the new year. This year, everything about the celebration is changing because of Covid.

New Year’s Eve in Times Square has been canceled.

The in-person celebration with crowds packing into the intersection to watch the ball drop is going virtual. Like the Emmys earlier this month, and countless other events, the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration is all virtual. The decision to cancel the in-person part of the Times Square Ball Drop is, well, Covid, of course.

“One thing that will never change is the ticking of time and the arrival of a New Year at midnight on December 31st,” Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said in a statement. “But this year there will be significantly new and enhanced virtual, visual and digital offerings to complement whatever limited live entertainment or experiences – still in development — will take place in Times Square. And because any opportunity to be live in Times Square will be pre-determined and extremely limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be the opportunity to participate virtually wherever you are.”

We still don’t have a lot of details about the virtual aspect of New Year’s Eve, we are all waiting.

According to a statement, the organizers realize that Covid has been the dominating force of 2020. The celebration always includes aspects of the major events from the previous year into the experience. The socially distanced handful of honorees and lack of an audience is a clear representation of the still real Covid crisis.

Some people are really upset about the decision to cancel the celebration.

It is one of those iconic moments so many people dream of doing. It is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for so many. The Times Square Ball Drop is something that most Americans recognize thanks to the dominant role the ball drop played on New Year’s Eve growing up. It is basically tradition to have the NYE party playing on the TV.

New Yorkers are confused about why anyone would want to do that.

New Yorkers avoid Times Square at all costs. It isn’t a convenient or super enjoyable part of town. It is packed with tourists who don’t know where they are going and NYE is about the worst it gets for Times Square. Now, the ball drop is impressive and something so many people consider an iconic moment in the holiday celebration.

“We will miss everyone this year but we will bring our celebration to you, whether you want to turn off and turn away from the bad news of 2020, or turn to the new year with a sense of hope, renewal and resolution, you’ll be able to join us virtually like never before as part of the Times Square 2021 celebration,” Jeff Straus, President of Countdown Entertainment, said in a statement.

But, mainly, people just want 2020 to be over.

This year has been a hard year for so many. People have lost their jobs and their loved ones as the virus runs through the U.S. Covid-19 is still a real threat to people, especially the vulnerable population.

READ: Nearly 9,000 Unaccompanied Child Migrants Have Been Expelled From the U.S. Under Trump’s COVID-19 Restrictions

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Report Shows That Immigration Narratives On TV Are Latinx-Focused And Over-Emphasize Crime

Entertainment

Report Shows That Immigration Narratives On TV Are Latinx-Focused And Over-Emphasize Crime

The media advocacy group Define American recently released a study that focused on the way immigrant characters are depicted on television. The second-annual study is entitled “Change the Narrative, Change the World”.

Although the study reports progress in some areas of onscreen representation, there is still a long way to go.

For example, the study reported that half of the immigrant characters depicted on television are Latino, which is consistent with reality. What is not consistent with reality, however, is how crime-related storylines are still an overrepresented theme in these storylines.

The study shows that on television 22% of immigrant characters have crime storylines show up as part of their narratives. These types of storylines further pedal the false narrative that immigrants are criminals, when in reality, they’re just everyday people who are trying to lives their best lives. Ironically, this statistic is an improvement on the previous year’s statistics in which crime themes made up 34% of immigrants’ stories on TV.

These numbers are further proof that the media feels stories of Latino immigration have to be about sadness and hardship in order to be worth watching.

According to Define American’s website, their organization believes that “powerful storytelling is the catalyst that can reshape our country’s immigration narrative and generate significant cultural change.”

They believe that changing the narratives depicted in entertainment media can “reshape our country’s immigration narrative and generate significant cultural change.” 

“We wanted to determine if seeing the specific immigration storylines influenced [viewers’] attitudes, behavior, or knowledge in the real world,” said Sarah Lowe, the associate director of research and impact at Define American to Variety. “And we were reassured and inspired to see the impact it had.” 

Define American’s founder, Jose Antonio Vargas, is relatively optimistic about the study’s outcomes, saying that the report has “some promising findings” and the numbers “provide [him] with hope”. He added that there are still “many areas in which immigrant representation can improve”.

via Getty Images

Namely, Vargas was disappointed in television’s failure to take an intersectional approach to immigration in regards to undocumented Black immigrants. 

“Black undocumented immigrants are detained and deported at higher rates than other ethnic groups,” Vargas told Variety. “But their stories are largely left off-screen and left out of the larger narrative around immigration.” 

“Change the Narrative, Change the World” also showed that Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants are also under-represented on television compared with reality. Also worth noting, male immigrants were over-represented on television compared to reality, while immigrants with disabilities were also under-represented.

The study also showed that when viewers are exposed to TV storylines that humanize immigrants, they’re more likely to take action on immigration issues themselves. 

The effect that fictional entertainment narratives have on viewers further proves that representation does, indeed, matter. What we watch as entertainment changes the way we think about other people’s lived experiences. And that, in turn, can change the world.

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