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Facing Immigration II Impact Outcomes

Through their work with the Humanities Lab,  Facing Immigration II students collaborated with local communities and organizations through storytelling, art, and fundraising.


Facing Immigration III – Coming Spring 2021

Community-Engaged Projects

February 18, 2019: “Art for Social Justice: Cardboard Painting Workshop with Ramiro Gomez.”

The Facing Immigration II Lab, thanks to funding generosity from The School of Human Evolution and Social Change (SHESC), had the phenomenal opportunity to work with Los Angeles, California based artist Ramiro Gomez as a highlight to their Lab experience. Ramiro is a Mexican-American artist whose work focuses broadly on justice issues and more pointedly on immigration, labor, and race – making him an ideal collaborator in addressing the Lab’s research questions and exploration into immigration. With the support of SHESC’s $500 honorarium, plus flight and hotel – students were afforded the opportunity to work alongside Gomez for an “Art for Social Justice: Cardboard Painting Workshop” which he was host to.


February 20, 2019:  Facing Immigration through Art: Repujado Exhibit & Featured Talk by Artist Ramiro Gomez.” The funding from the SHESC honorarium also granted students the opportunity to feature Gomez as a guest speaker at their subsequent event called “Facing Immigration through Art: Repujado Exhibit,” held at Phoenix Center for the Arts. This event featured repujado artwork (metal embossing) that students created as a Lab impact project. Lab co-faculty Emir Estrada, who had grown up creating repujado art as a young girl, taught Lab students the art-form which they then used in an effort to create tangible expressions of their own immigration story. The work was showcased in the Phoenix Center for the Arts gallery event and host to a wide range of guests. Students in addition to creating the artwork also secured the location, food, created fliers, publicized and facilitated the entire event. The event garnered  $450 in donations made towards the acquisition of the repujado art.


Media Coverage

ASU Now. “Confronting grand social challenges with humanities.” By Emma Greguska. (2/20/2019)

The State Press. “ASU Students use art to tell their immigration story.” By Samia Salahi (2/20/2019).

April 12, 2019: “Barriers & Bridges: Inter-generational Immigration Storytelling and Community Mural Project With Artist Hugo Medina.”

In successive Lab work, students applied for and received grants from Arizona State University’s Changemaker Central organization’s Challenge Awards ($1,500 awarded) and the Osher Life Long Learning Institute’s Inter-generational Learning Service Scholarship ($5,000 awarded). With a total of $6,500 in grant money and an opportunity to further transform their educational experience and develop a monumental impact project, students made a move to hire a second artist, named Hugo Medina. Medina, a native Bolivian who migrated to the United States as a child, worked with the Lab students in a two-part mural creation process. The first segment of the process was done as an inter-generational storytelling and mural-planning event called “Barriers and Bridges,” hosted in ASU’s downtown-Phoenix Mercado building. Students secured a location for this, mobilized to procure food donations and crafted a flier for the event which was translated into various languages as an effort towards inclusion. Approximately 70+ people attended – passing the microphone around from table to table, person to person and sharing personal migration stories of how their families migrated to the United States. Stories spanned from across the globe, across generations and across perspectives including migrants and even an ex-border patrol officer with experience patrolling the Mexico/USA border. After the storytelling portion of the event, each table took to a drawing pad stationed around the room and brainstormed ideas for the mural. Ideas were then conceptualized by Medina, approved by Lab students and painted by all just one week later.


Media Coverage

The State Press. “ASU project uses immigration stories to inspire community mural.” By Will McClelland. (4/4/2019).

April 19-20, 2019: “Mural Painting with Community Members”

On April 19-20th Lab students and faculty, Osher Life Long Learning volunteers and volunteers from the public joined Medina in downtown-Phoenix again, but this time at the Lincoln Family YMCA where the mural was to be painted. Over the course of two major paint days, volunteers collaborated at the direction of Medina to create a vibrant wall mural (pictured above) that stands tall along the side of the YMCA building today. The mural is a visual depiction of student’s Lab experience and research findings and serves as a semi-permanent tangible expression into what it means to ‘face immigration.’ Without the generosity awarded from the Changemaker Central Challenge Awards and the Osher Life Long Learning Institute’s Inter-generational Learning Service Scholarship, this rich learning opportunity would not have been possible. (Mural location: Next to Lincoln Family YMCA at 350 1st Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003)


Semester End: Culminating Activities The semester culminated in two final activities. One of the activities was to identify a local organization in which to donate the $450 garnered from the “Facing Immigration through Art: Repujado Exhibit” event. Students chose a local organization called Aliento which works with undocumented youth. The money created an inaugural scholarship titled “Barriers and Bridges” and was presented to the members of the organization in a formal event. The second activity was to encapsulate their semester-long Lab experiences which included those furthered by the enrichments afforded through the various grant, scholarship, honorarium and Lab stipend ($250) monies. The students had accomplished a lot and had earned noteworthy transferable experiences and skills. They had been responsible for creating formal ask letters/submissions requesting funding, booking and coordinating travel, securing venues, organizing events, publicizing events, presenting research and formally thanking all parties for the opportunities they had been given. To capture all of this – the faculty team, Emir Estrada and Alex Avina, worked with students in a culminating activity to create a curriculum vitae highlighting their experiences. Students now have this as a tool for future endeavors as they create their own pathways into our global community.




In order to earn the funds needed to initiate these projects, our Facing Immigration II students applied for and received the following grants:

– Students were awarded a $5,000 Intergenerational Learning Services Scholarship from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in March 2019

– Students were awarded a $1,500 “Changemaker Central Challenge Award”  in April 2019


Humanities Lab Support Fund

The Humanities Lab is very grateful for the support the Facing Immigration II Lab received during Spring 2019. The amazing accomplishments of the students and faculty participating in this Lab demonstrate how such support can enhance the learning possibilities for all Humanities Labs. To help achieve that result, we have created the Humanities Lab Support Fund, which is managed by the Lab’s founding Director, Professor Sally Kitch, and the Humanities Lab Advisory Board, composed of university leaders across the campus. The fund will enhance the Lab’s ability to provide educationally transformative experiences to Lab student teams and to those students who wish to go Beyond the Lab in post-Lab practicums and applied projects that can further benefit the communities ASU serves. If you are interested in donating to the Humanities Lab Support Fund, click here.

What Students Are Saying

Facing Immigration III will be offered in Spring 2021. 

Media Coverage

Cronkite News. “Barriers and Bridges.” By: Walter Penate (2/24/2019)

KTVK-Channel 3. “Immigration Stories to Inspire Community Mural.” (4/22/2019)

The State Press. “ASU project uses immigration stories to inspire community mural.” By Will McClelland. (4/4/2019).

Cronkite Noticias. “Como estudiantes de ASU usan el arte para contar sobre la migracion.” By Karina Espinoza and Paulina Verbera. (2/28/2019) 

ASU Now. “Confronting grand social challenges with humanities.” By Emma Greguska. (2/20/2019)

The State Press. “ASU Students use art to tell their immigration story.” By Samia Salahi (2/20/2019).

Mary Rabago Productions. “Facing Immigration Through Art.” By Mary Rabago. (2/12/2019).