Return Migrants- An Audio Documentary

$1,078 of $1,200 goal

Raised by 45 people in 65 months
How has the global economic crisis affected cycles of migration between Latin America and the United States? How have record levels of deportation and political scapegoating of immigrants in the U.S. impacted return migration and migrants' experiences? What has been the impact of the elusive promise of comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S.? How has 19 years of NAFTA (and the dozens free trade agreements it has inspired throughout Central and South America) affected cycles of migration in the areas most affected by these agreements? What has been the broader social, political, and cultural impact on sending communities?

With your support, I will explore these questions over the next two months by recording interviews with return migrants from the U.S. in Guatemala, and the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, and editing these into an audio documentary-style podcast.

Last December, I left my full time non-profit job so I could dedicate myself more deeply to language justice and immigrant organizing in my home state of Vermont. I've been working as a volunteer with Migrant Justice, an organization of migrant farmworkers in Vermont who have successfully organized for workers' rights, bias-free policing, and driver's licenses for all. Most of the migrant workers in Vermont are from southern Mexico and Guatemala. Many workers I know have had to leave the U.S. because of responsibilities back home, lack of work, or because they were deported. After hearing their stories of dangerous and difficult border crossing, years of hard work in isolated conditions on Vermont's dairy farms, and witnessing as they've organized for systemic change in Vermont, I want to know how their stories have continued since returning to their communities of origin.

In my earlier trips to Guatemala and Mexico, I learned about the roots of migration, and heard an incredible array of stories from return migrants about their experiences.

With your help, I will seek and document these stories, striving for a final product that has general educational value and practical utility for social movement organizations.

I also hope this project will improve my Spanish skills. I want to be an interpreter in service of social movement organizations, and organize with other interpreters to create and strengthen language justice infrastructure in Vermont. I've begun doing this, but I've realized that I can't continue without moving from proficiency toward fluency. For that reason, I will be enrolled at Proyecto Lingüistico Quetzalteco in Xela, Guatemala for the first four weeks of this project.

I've been saving for months (and actually moved out of my apartment in Burlington) to pay for the language school tuition. I have recording equipment and editing software. Your support is absolutely critical for raising money for remaining project costs (mostly travel and living expenses). Please give as much as you can, as the more I raise, the more time I can dedicate toward documenting these important stories.

Thank you for your support!
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Hi, friends and supporters!

I just back to the U.S. on Thursday, after an intense and full two weeks in Mexico (and 4 weeks before that in Guatemala).

Thank you for your support that made everything possible up to now! All told, I interviewed 15 return migrants in Guatemala, Chiapas (Mexico), Tabasco (Mexico), and Oaxaca (Mexico). I interviewed another 10 people (relatives of migrants, organizers, artists, academics) who shared context about the roots and impacts of migration and return migration. There are a few more interviews I still want to do on some of the regionally specific roots of migration, and then I'm going to jump into the editing process.

There are a few ways you can help with the steps ahead:

1) I'm still $272 short of my $1,200 goal, which meant the last little bit of my trip was in the red. I'd love to go into the next stage not worrying about funding. Could you email or Facebook post once more about this project, tagging or emailing people you think would be particularly supportive?

2) For the Spanish speakers among you, I could use help transcribe the many hours of interviews. There's also going to be eventual translation of these, but I'm probably going to wait until I've edited together a Spanish version.

3) If you have experience with audio editing, I'd love your support/ brainstorm/ feedback, as I move into this phase.

4) Please send me ideas for eventual distribution!

Thanks so much!
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$1,078 of $1,200 goal

Raised by 45 people in 65 months
Created August 12, 2013
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Anole Halper
62 months ago

So glad I met you! Hope you're well

63 months ago
63 months ago
Puja Gupta
63 months ago

Great work Avery! I love you my friend! xoxox

64 months ago
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