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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Superheroes - A Mexican Perspective

BERNABE MENDEZ from the State of Guerrero works as a professional window cleaner in New York. He sends 500 dollars a month.

America's Enigmatic Invisible Class

Dulce Pinzon - a thirty-four old native of Mexico City - moved to New York in 1995 to further her studies in Photography. Her work was featured in the New York Times back in 2006 in an article entitled, "Hombres of Steel." These are a few of her pictures.

Ms. Pinzon had an ingenious idea; create a collection of photographs featuring ordinary Mexican workers in New York City - dressed in super hero costumes - as they wrest a living. While the story plays itself out every day, from sea to shining sea, this depiction is even more punctuated as the characters are set in the Big Apple - the iconic city that never sleeps - so far away from Mexico. She conveys a sense of dignity to the Mexican people that shows their resiliency, resolve and work ethic as they struggle to survive thereby refuting the conventional psyche offered by disingenuous blowhard nativists like the
hate-mongering Lew Dobbs.

Pinzon's work is elegant in its understatement as names the individuals, accompanied by captions describing the type of work they do and how much money they send home to their families each month. Her genius lies in matter-of-fact simplicity; she lets the pictures make their gut appeal. While whimsical and provocative the vignettes simultaneously tug at the conscience as well.

NOE REYES from the State of Puebla works as a delivery boy in Brooklyn New York. He Sends 500 dollars a week.

Pinzon's work is touching on so many different levels.

There is the comical absurdity to it because, certain Americans feel threatened by these members of the servant class - people who struggle each day to earn their respective livings through menial labor. To the faux news pundits, they have become America's straw man, vilified and denigrated at every turn and why? Because they have no Constitutionally protected voice. Consequently, these living, breathing Human Beings are America's 'invisible' non-existent class.

ADALBERTO LARA from the State of Mexico works as a construction worker in New York. He Sends 350 dollars a week.

...on Earth as it is in Heaven?

There are others who do not take the illegal alien's plight seriously and thus fail to treat them with simple kindness or respect their
Humanity; they aren't 'real' so, their plight can be ignored. In short, illegals can perform the work no one else in America wants to do only to be dismissed. Like disposable comic books, they are America's fourth class; the throw-aways. They are necessary and anathema at the same time.

We don't know where they live or how they live and we don't care. We don't ask and they won't tell.

Pinzon artfully points to the idea that real heroes are everyday people who work hard and are the backbone of this country
among the noblest of America's unsung heroes.

ROMÁN ROMERO from Tlapa Guerrero works as a superintendent in New York. He Sends 800 dollars a month.

This collection clearly speaks to the reality that immigrants are an indispensable part of the American experience that is as frustrating as it is necessary. Quite frankly, America needs Mexicans as much as they need America.

OSCAR GONZALEZ from the State of Oaxaca works as a cook in New York. He Sends 350 dollars a week.

States like Colorado have implemented some of the stiffest illegal immigrant hiring laws and have suffered grave consequences. In their zeal to address the illegal immigrant 'problem' the now face the ensuing results; crops have gone fallow and construction has slowed to a crawl because there is no profitable way do the work. Colorado's lack of available labor speaks volumes about what happens when bigots stoke xenophobic fires. Quite simply put, Colorado's modern-day Jim Crow Laws are so successful that they have stymied progress and threaten to cripple their economy. The race-baiters won and the economy lost.

MINERVA VALENCIA from the State of Puebla works as a nanny in New York City. She sends 400 dollars a week.

If America wishes to maintain her standing in the eyes of the world as a beacon of economic prosperity, she cannot close her borders and while security is definitely a reason to re-evaluate the border control issue, shutting out the Mexicans is not the answer.

"Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States" - Porfirio Diaz, President of Mexico 1876-1880

The Poet Robert Frost concluded that 'Good fences make good neighbors.' However, that is really a more symbolic part for resolving migrant worker issues. There has to be something more - something that makes a neighbor respect the boundary in the first place. It is rooted in mutual respect, predicated on trust and good will.

LUIS HERNANDEZ from the State of Veracruz works in demolition in New York. He sends 200 dollars a week.

Arguably, the more prudent approach to increased national security is for The U.S. to work toward investing into Mexico's and all of Latin America's economy. Doing so makes sense as it establishes a foundation for an abiding relationship that encourages free-enterprise between good neighbors.

MARIA LUISA ROMERO from the State of Puebla works in a Laundromat in Brooklyn New York. She Sends 150 dollars a week.

Strengthening our neighbors economies and forging solid relationships makes more sense. While the North American Free trade Agreement (NAFTA) was a good start, it needs to be re-worked and attenuated so that it is fair - not only for Mexico, Canada and US Corporations but for America's most precious natural resource as well; its blue collar workers. NAFTA may not be perfect but it definitely is a good start. The sure sign that NAFTA isn't as successful as President Bush would have us believe is because immigration northward from Mexico still continues.

FEDERICO MARTINEZ from the State of Puebla works as a taxi driver in New York. He Sends 250 dollars a week.

Prosperous economies make even greater allies. The economic pie is big enough, America just needs to share a little more of it with the rest of the planet.

PAULINO CARDOZO from the State of Guerrero works in a greengrocer loading trucks. He Sends 300 dollars a week.

Meanwhile, America can rest easy because superheroes remain willing and able to fill the voids that only an invisible class of people can - whether anyone appreciates them or not. This remains the paradoxical reality for Mexicans; forever denied a rightful place at the table they are called upon to prepare.

You can visit Dulce Pinzon's website to check out the rest of her pictures by
clicking here


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