After hearing so many tales of immigration struggles, Jen Furer decided she wanted to share her own, according to the New Jersey area newspaper the Cranford Chronicle.
Coming to the United States as a 20-year-old, Furer and her family faced many difficulties once they left their home country of the Philippines. Among the most troubling was the fact that their change of status when immigrating often caused problems within the family.
Despite the difficulties associated with immigration, Furer’s account of her experience also shines a light on why so many people continue to take the risk in uprooting themselves from everything they know in order to come to the United States.
“Everyone has an opinion about what it’s like to be an illegal immigrant or what it’s like to be deported or detained but no one really knows what the reality is until they’ve experienced it. We wanted to share our experience with others,” Furer told the Chronicle.
In Tucson, Arizona, public libraries and spaces are being filled with stories similar to Furer’s by Librotraficante, according to a recent blog post from the Huffington Post.
The Tucson Unified School District made headlines this winter when it announced that in addition to disbanding its ethnic studies program, its schools would be required to remove all textbooks that deal with Mexican-American history. The district says it made the controversial decision in order to stay compliant with state law HB 2281, which says a educational program is illegal if it “promotes resentment toward a race or class of people.” In response, Librotraficante has created underground libraries in the city that include hundreds of books and written accounts of Hispanic and immigration-related events.
According to the group’s official website, they “intend to collect one complete set of the books banned by the Tucson Unified School District for each of these libraries … We will also donate copies of the banned books to public libraries once a complete set has been collected for each of the Underground Libraries.”