Thursday, July 2, 2020

Musings in a Time of Crisis XXXI

We have years of activism under our belts. 
Now we just fight harder, we fight smarter, and we fight as one.
~ Alejandro, Film Subject, The Unafraid

I had an opportunity last night to view online, on Good Docs, the feature-length documentary The Unafraid. Anayansi Prado and Heather Courtney are the co-directors/-producers and cinematographers.

The film follows a small group of DACA youths in Georgia — the storylines of three in particular are narrated — after their high school graduation in 2014. By law, they are shut out of the top five public universities in the state and must pay tuition at the international student level — obstacles none of them can overcome. In the years covered, which end just before 45's election in 2016 and his subsequent attempt to force the deportation of more than 800,000 persons with DACA status (the recent Supreme Court decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals came too late to be noted in the film), we see how the young people are impelled to become political activists and how for all three and their families the "American dream" becomes their "American nightmare."

The Unafraid is deeply moving in parts, as it portrays quite well not just the multi-generational struggle to create a better life and future in America, especially but not only in the Deep South, but also what forces those with no money, no education, and no papers to leave their countries for the United States. The sacrifices made are tremendous, and what it means for families to risk everything to come here is wholly unappreciated by policymakers who would rather erect walls than uphold the values this country is supposed to represent. Our cluelessness robs human beings no different from ourselves of so much, from the most basic rights and services that those born here take for granted, to the opportunities to realize better lives for our children, opportunities slow in coming, if at all, to the undocumented.
In addition to showing us the truths about forced migration and its life-changing consequences, the documentary also sharply reveals the racism endemic throughout this country. To be brown means having a life that doesn't matter, if you want to go to college, if you want to make a living that lifts you out of poverty. To be brown means not having the right to believe in the "American dream". To be brown means, in the argot of the film, to be "very afraid" until you become one of "the unafraid" who finds the strength to risk opening a closed door. 
That any one of us might watch this film and not see the wrongs we perpetuate in our government and socioeconomic and cultural policies, as well as through our myth-making, is to be deliberately obtuse and tragically indifferent to the riches that immigrants, undocumented people, asylees, refugees, and DACA recipients offer us.

A virtual discussion of the film for those able to watch it last night takes place this evening on Zoom. I intend to listen and to be part of it.

Here is the film trailer:

1 comment:

Louise Gallagher said...

Hopefully it will come online soon! It sounds like something I need to watch. Thanks Maureen!