11M Project Portraits Put Immigration Reform Face to Face With Downtown Miami
Over the last few days, you may have noticed an odd change spreading across the lower facade on the south side of the Freedom Tower. A constantly changing mosaic of faces fell over the mustard flanks of the building, arguably Miami's most famous historical landmark in regard to our city's immigrant population. The expanse of shifting portraits was facilitated by the Inside Out 11M Project and their mobile photo booth and printing station truck, which steadily churned out reams of monochrome visages that put a face to the issue of immigration reform.
When Miami began to see an almost overwhelming influx of Cuban immigrants as the exodus to escape Fidel Castro's regime began, the Freedom Tower served as the government's locale for processing newly arrived exiles. Essentially, it was our Ellis Island, where people who'd left their former lives for the promise of finding more hopeful days to come on new shores would start their search for that promise. So it seems like a fitting stage for Inside Out's 11M project, which aims to raise awareness and gather support for immigration reform, such as the DREAM Act, that would give the 11 million undocumented residents in the US a more secure sense of place in the country grown to call their home.
"The point of Inside Out 11 Million is to give a voice to the 11 million undocumented who are counting on reform, so it should be them that people are seeing, their faces on the wall," explained Natalia Jaramillo, communications manager for the Florida Immigrant Coalition.
The driving intent behind the 11M project is not only to send a message, but to make that message all the more personal by emphasizing legislation like the DREAM Act, which would afford a path to citizenship to undocumented youths who grew up in the states after being brought by their parents as children.
The visual impact of the project is impressive, a moving black and white gathering of diverse faces, with an incredible array of ages, ethnicities, and expressions plastered along the base of the Tower, looming over the sidewalk on 6th street. One might readily contend that this silent protest of sorts spoke louder than a mass of people shouting and bearing picket signs.