The Undocumented Diaries; a Day in the Life of Dreamers (non-fiction memoir/essay)

LIMBO from Eliot Rausch + Phos Pictures on Vimeo.

By Erick Huerta

Erick Huerta, aka El Random Hero, is a journalism student at East Los Angeles College,  community and DREAM Act activist with Dream Team Los Angeles.

When I first met with Director Eliot Rausch and producerMark Schwartz about collaborating on a video project about dreamers, I washesitant. When filmmakers or documentarians wanna ‘capture’ our lives, they getit wrong. They film us through an outsider’s perspective and refer to us assubjects, characters even actors. That being said, I was never one for havingothers speak for me in any shape or form, so choosing to do this project wassomething of a new endeavor.

It was only afterseveral meetings and talking back and forth for a while that Mark and Eliotdecided on going forward with the project by having three dreamers film theireveryday life for three months. Through portable cameras, they will film andshare the world through their eyes and experiences. And that’s how Nancy Mezaand I, Erick Huerta, ended up being chosen for ‘Limbo.’

Whether it was getting drunk or marching at an action,carrying a camera for three months became an experience in itself. Folks werealways asking what I was doing, why was I filming and to not film them causethey’re camera shy. I caught great moments both in my life and of the movementI’m a part of. I learned that the need for more documentarians and artistwithin the movement is and always will be needed.

For all the work wedo, sometimes it’s hard when we’re trying to find pictures of specific eventsor actions. Video to relive what happened or art that captures our struggles.Being able to show my life the way it was happening, rather than someoneinterpreting it was as keeping it real as it can get. And even though onlyselect moments made the final cut, the experience was well worth it.

Our stories should be told by us, not outsiders or reporterswho are trying to make a name for themselves and are invested or committed bothin the work we do and our lives. And while not everyone wants to or can recordtheir lives the way we did, there’s more than one way to tell and share ourstories. Humanizing our struggle by putting our lives out there has been one ofthe core ideals that make up our movement.

Whether we are telling our story in a workshop, classroom orin film, every time we talk and share on what it’s like to be undocumented inthis country and our experiences, we reach someone new that will join ourmovement and our struggles.

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