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UCSB’s Multicultural Center is hosting a new exhibition tonight, featuring artistic posters in an effort to unveil the struggles and prejudice immigrants have faced as they voyaged to America.
Titled “No Human Being is Illegal,” the art show is scheduled to open at 5 p.m. on Oct. 6th through Dec. 10th and will explore the themes of willpower, hope and the pursuit of a better life. The exhibit depicts occurrences within the last 40 years and is designed to help visitors discern between the facts and fiction of an immigration experience.
According to MCC Director Zaveeni Khan-Marcus, the exhibit highlights the discrimination immigrants have endured in pursuit of better standards of life for their families.
“It’s advocating social justice, awareness of inequalities and the voices of the marginalized communities,” Khan-Marcus said. “When you talk about equality, you can’t say one person is more important than the other — and in this case the immigrant is the other.”
Additionally, MCC Associate Director Viviana Marsano said the displays will challenge the negative stereotypes many people associate with immigrants and immigrant communities.
“One of the main myths is the idea that immigrants are criminals and that they abuse the system,” Marsano said. “The realities are the struggles that a lot of these communities face after they leave their homeland to escape from hardship. A lot of them come to this country with hopes of making a living for their families, of getting access to education for their children, and they work very hard to achieve this. Leaving their friends, families and communities back home is also very hard.”
According to a MCC press release, the Multicultural Center aims to eradicate practices of using immigrants as scapegoats for domestic problems with the help of this art exhibit. Unfortunately, the release said, negative national issues such as economic crisis, home foreclosures, high unemployment rates and an upsurge of U.S. military engagement over the past decade has made immigrants easy targets for some to blame for the nation’s faults.
Satya Chima, the office manager at the MCC, said she is optimistic about the art presentation and believes it will be beneficial to those who attend.
“I hope that if this is a new experience for people to explore, that they will walk away feeling that the immigrant is a human being,” Chima said. “I hope that it humanizes the image of the ‘immigrant,’ because I feel that the immigrant experience is not fully understood.”