Sunday, May 23, 2010

VozMob: a neat project working in support of immigrant rights

I just got back from a work-related meeting in Arizona, and I'm therefore feeling a need to counteract my willingness to visit a state whose newly passed anti-immigration law is one of the most deeply and overtly mean-spirited, evil-minded, and willfully ignorant pieces of legislation I can imagine.

Here's a neat project I heard about while I was in Arizona: VozMob, or Voces Moviles, which I was introduced to by Ben Stokes, in comparison to whom I feel woefully inadequate. Here's the description of this effort to give voice to undocumented immigrants and day laborers, according to the VozMob website:
Voces Moviles (vozmob) es una plataforma para que trabajadores y trabajadoras inmigrantes en Los Ángeles puedan crear historias sobre sus vidas y comunidades directamente desde sus teléfonos celulares. Vozmob le ayuda a la gente lograr una participación más amplia en la esfera pública digital.

Here's a rough translation into English:
Mobile Voices (VozMob) is a platform for immigrant workers in Los Angeles to create stories about their lives and communities directly from their mobile phones. VozMob helps people achieve wider participation in the digital public sphere.

According to Ben, one of the goals of this project is to fight bigoted, anti-immigrant rhetoric of the sort exhibited by the site, whose members drive around looking for groups of immigrants, then taunt them, call them names, and otherwise antagonize them by engaging in incredibly juvenile and embarrassing behavior. When the targets of their abuse respond in anger, someone takes a picture and tosses it up online, using it as proof positive! that immigrants are rapists and murderers!

This is a beautiful project, one that appears to do real, important work in supporting immigrants' ability and willingness to name and claim their experiences.

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