When the Atlantic Ocean swelled on the night of October 29th, the winds of Hurricane Sandy pummeled through the eastern seaboard, moving from Florida to Maine, leaving at least 72 dead, and unimaginable destruction in its wake. It has been five months since that night in which Javier Morán, José Parra, and Felipa Campos, three of countless undocumented immigrants, lost their home to the floods of the storm.
Jika González is a freelance journalist, photographer and multimedia producer from Mexico City. She is currently pursuing her master's degree at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City. Jika has gained experience at Magnum Photos, BizBash Media, Conde Nast Traveler, and CNN's Mexico City bureau. For more information please visit www.jikagonzalez.com. Follow Jika on Twitter @JikaGlez.
Six months ago, Hurricane Sandy roared into the American northeast, leaving in its wake dozens dead, thousands homeless, and unimaginable devastation. While many continue to recover, one group of New Yorkers faces additional challenges. Jika González reports on the efforts of undocumented immigrants to get back on their feet.
Eduardo Resendiz, 22, is eager for the elections to be over. If Obama wins, he could legally work in the America. (JIKA GONZALEZ/The Bronx Ink)
Years ago Eduardo Resendiz woke up in Mexico City to his mother’s whisper. “My son, get your things ready, we are about to leave,” she said quietly. “We’re going to meet your dad in the United States.”
Maria arrived to the United States when she was only 2 years old. She has lived in White Plains, New York for most of her life, and while she considers herself to be an American, she is still an undocumented immigrant under U.S. law.
Maria works as a tattoo artist at La Tinta de la Santa Muerte, a tattoo and piercing shop that she runs with her family.
"Are things still good there?” a man asks. “At least they are better than here,” Eraldo responds as he prepares for his third venture to the United States. Eraldo Pacheco, a Chilean shepherd, is starting a contract to work as a sheepherder in the plains of Idaho for the next three years.
Danny Goldfield's image of Basim Erzouki, representing Iraq, was chosen for Life magazine's cover in June, 2006. Basim was 3 years old when this picture was taken. (Courtesy of Danny Goldfield)
The image above hangs on the walls of Park51 along with another 170 faces of children from almost every country in the world.
A while back I had the privilege of meeting Patricio, an immigrant worker from Ecuador. He worked at a pizzeria in Sunset Park, a largely Hispanic neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Patricio was kind enough to share his story with me. He told me about his journey from Ecuador and how he crossed the Mexico-US border, about being deported more than once before reaching his destination, and about the thought of never going back home.
After a month of occupations, protests and marches, Occupy Wall Street has gone national and global. On October 15th, events were held across 82 countries in unison outcry for social and economic justice. But as the Occupy Wall Street movement grows, it is imperative for it to continue to become more and more inclusive. The participation of minorities and marginalized groups is crucial for this movement to continue forward.
I have always found myself between two worlds, not always belonging in either, but always fortunate to have both.
I grew up in Mexico City with an American mother and a Mexican father. Amongst my friends at home, I was always the gringa which, depending on the day, seemed mildly offensive.