We are trying something new: We have decided to add an episode every year to the Change Lab podcast that will feature one of our graduating students. It’s a way for our listeners to learn, directly, about some of the amazing people who attend this College. We begin that endeavor with a conversation with Jackie Amezquita who just graduated from our Fine Art department this past spring.
This walk was about shedding this history of living under the shadows for over a decade.
Jackie’s life and work have been shaped by a series of transformative journeys. Each of these passages has called upon her to summon tremendous strength and stamina, courage and creativity, resourcefulness and resilience. All these qualities were wholly evident in her final project as an ArtCenter student – as she embarked on a 178 mile walk from the Tijuana border to Downtown LA.
Her walk received widespread media coverage— and deservedly so— for offering an intimate, first-hand perspective on the experience of undocumented immigrants. It also seemed to foreshadow the wave of deeply distressing news stories about the plight of young immigrants captured at the border.
In light of those recent events, I felt it was important to add context to Jackie’s creative achievements by speaking to her about her original border walk, on foot at age 17, from her native Guatemala to the United States. Jackie undertook that arduous and dangerous journey on foot with a group of strangers. She was determined to reunite with her mother, who had come to the United States when Jackie was just two years old. She came to earn the funds necessary to support Jackie’s brother, who was in desperate need of expensive medical care.
Over the course of a conversation that was at turns, inspiring, illuminating and heartbreaking, Jackie retraced the dramatic twists and turns of an incredible survival story. It is also, however, a story of love with a promising resolution, complete with an ArtCenter degree, a green card, and a bright future ahead.