Students hear immigrant perspective in ‘Hear My Story’ documentary

Madelyn Loellke, Staff Reporter

The Students for Peace and Justice showed a documentary called “Hear My Story” Tuesday night in the Lumpkin Auditorium.

Members of the registered student organization spent a year creating the documentary, which raises awareness and shares a new perspective on immigration in the US. The documentary featured several individuals from multiple parts of Central and Latin America with only their shadows visible in order to remain anonymous. They shared details of their life and what drew them to take the risk of migrating to the U.S.

It showed how hard it is and how long the process takes in order to cross the border legally, which is not possible for most that are desperate and come to the U.S. hoping to have a new start, according to the documentary.

Those featured had similar backgrounds, most living in rural areas of their native countries where they could not afford to go to school or any other luxuries when they needed to first pay for daily food and the clothes on their backs, according to the documentary.

Most of the narrators were fathers; one was a mother who made the journey with her four young children.

“It’s not easy to leave your family, it’s all I think about—trying to send money so that my children can eat,” one man said.

The same man shared that he was still in Mexico with his family, but happiness is not enough.

“I want to accomplish something for my family, so that my children don’t suffer like me,” he said in the documentary.

One of the narrators said that in the United States it is believed that things can be better.

“But if you leave, you leave forever,” the narrator said.

The event was designed to create conversation about immigration, and some attendees had further debate about it after the documentary. 

Ben Grapperhaus, a senior and leading figure in the Students for Peace and Justice, led the event.  

“We focus on educating community members about issues going on in other countries, and how that interacts with our own.” 

Fellow member Lydia Schrock said she agrees and she said she uses these events to help herself grow further toward a future career.

Schrock said as a political science major who wants to go into international relations, Americans can grow up very sheltered to other nations.

“This is a very interesting group to be a part of,” Schrock said.

The RSO is planning to have a world-hunger awareness event later this school year, and members said they hope people become just as engaged in that topic as they did in this one.

Madelyn Loellke can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].