Thursday, June 7, 2012

Crossing the line with Village Voice

If you pick up your city's free weekly paper this next week (if it's part of Village Voice Media) you'll see the cover story that's running nationwide. "Crossing the Line" is a series of articles/columns on the state of affairs we find ourselves in nowadays in the good ol' USA. From "papers please" laws, to new laws attempting to keep as many people of color as possible from voting. I was asked to illustrate a few of these essays:

"Welcome Back, Jim Crow." This essay discusses the attempts in states across the U.S. to keep people from voting. From purging voters, to ending Sunday voting, to requiring various forms of identification to vote, politicians nationwide are finding different ways to make voting harder. Completely by coincidence, the people most affected by these laws are minorities.

"Days of Rage." This essay lists the many ways that Mexicans/Chicanos and Latinos have been targeted in the last few years, and the inevitable Civil Rights-like action that's bound to follow. When I was given the assignment, we didn't have the story, and were under the impression that the column would make more of a connection between the Civil Rights Era demonstrations of the past, and the need to do the same today.

"Love the Beans, Hate the Beaner." Gustavo Arellano's hilariously tongue-in-cheek essay on the United States' historic attempts to repress Mexican culture by purging Mexican cuisine. Long story short, the attempts failed. Americans surrendered to Mexicans, according to Gustavo, when they surrendered to their food.

This was an awesome project to work on, and I was honored to contribute. As the son of a once illegal immigrant, these articles are a welcome wake up call- not only to people concerned about their own family members, but also those concerned about basic civil rights for other human beings. Thanks so much, Tom!

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