So, I guess President Donald Trump is looming closer to reality than ever now (I blame TMZ) – which makes it that much harder to keep a smile on your face if you’re an undocumented immigrant.
And no, it’s not “a cultural thing.” Despite what Trump wants you to believe, not all undocumented people are Mexican, ya’ll.
When you’re livin’ la vida loca, trying to blend in or avoid interaction altogether because people want to kick you out of your home – life is a little less fun ‘n fancy free.
It’s a real downer when ICE crashes your neighborhood block party with a raid, taking your dad and all the beer. You’re slightly annoyed when you work hard for the grades to experience awkward dorm sex in college, but they want you to pay double for out-of-state tuition because your mom popped you out on the “wrong” side of the world. And you get downright depressed when people try to take things away that you don’t even have – you know, like that computer we all got at the border, and basic human rights.
[bctt tweet=”You can be undocumented and funny and sexy – this video proves it.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Fortunately, there are folks in the undocumented community with the resilience and wit to shine some sun into the shadows. As the great Langston Hughes said, “Humor is laughing at what you haven’t got when you ought to have it.”
[bctt tweet=”It’s a real downer when ICE crashes your neighborhood block party with a raid.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Please enjoy 5 of my favorite comedic videos by undocumented activists available right here on the Internet, where the only borders are on inspiring quote memes and mommy blogs.
1. “No Health Care? No Problem!” by Marcos Nieves, UCLA Labor Center
The UCLA Labor Center is home to the Dream Summer program, which serves as a training ground for undocumented leaders. It put me on the path to sitting here typing this up for you right now (full disclosure: I was an intern there). Marcos Nieves is an up-and-coming documentary filmmaker I met through Dream Summer who’s currently working on exciting projects at Brave New Films. He left behind some serious laughter as the writer/director of this parody pharmaceutical ad that points to a pretty big problem for undocumented folks who can’t work legally: no access to affordable healthcare.
2. “Moses and Jesús: The Prophetic Fight For Immigrant Rights” by CultureStrike
Did you know over 80% of the people in our world are religiously affiliated? That’s a whole lot of humans with really strong, differing opinions about how we got here, where we’re going, and what we should do while we’re waiting to “shed our meat bodies.” Which is why I dig the interfaith, “Love Thy Neighbor” narrative of this hilarious video produced by artivist Favianna Rodriguez for her radical art-meets-organizing media platform, CultureStrike.
3. “UndocuBreak Up Lines” by AskAngy
Angy Paola Rivera is the heart and soul of the award-winning documentary No Le Digas a Nadie by Mikaela Schwer (full disclosure: I was an assistant producer for the film) – but the inspiration behind Schwer’s doc is Angy’s own YouTube channel. She’s been empowering undocumented folks for years as an organizer and advice columnist, and through her unapologetic authenticity and transparency, has helped me figure out that being undocumented isn’t everything that I am. You can be undocumented and funny and sexy – this video proves it.
4. “The Org Episode 1” by Undeportable Productions
The Org is for fans of mockumentaries a la The Office, but if you’ve ever been a student organizer, this video’s gonna be too real. DREAM TV is the brainchild of Wil Prada at Undeportable Productions. Their channel hosts a variety of great videos in different genres, from heart-wrenching to gut-busting – check ‘em out!
[bctt tweet=”If you’ve ever been a student organizer, this video’s gonna be too real.” username=”wearethetempest”]
5. Paperz2015 by Dreamers Adrift
Did you know you can save one – that’s right – one whole undocumented immigrant RIGHT NOW?! Let Dreamers Adrift explain the simple application that can help you help us in this painfully hilarious satirical ad for Green Card marriages. The creators behind Dreamers Adrift include renowned artivist Julio Salgado and Jesús Iñiguez, and this video also features the talent of Yessica Gonzalez from Cali’s Immigrant Youth Coalition front and center. And shout out to my friend Erick Huerta on suggesting those last two videos, he’s older and wiser and the guy with the luscious locks in this funny video.
Hopefully you’ve noticed that as wonderful as these videos are, they’re all from a Latinx perspective, and mostly made by folks covered by DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which gives eligible undocumented youth temporary work permits and deportation stays). I point it out, not as criticism – this list was curated by an Hispanic DACA recipient – but as a nudge to everyone out there with underrepresented identities and stories within the immigrant liberation movement to pick up your phone, grab some friends, hit record, and flex that funny bone.
Our communities could use some healing right about now, and as the great (closeted comedian?) Langston Hughes said: “Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.”
[bctt tweet=”Our communities could use some healing right now” username=”wearethetempest”]