At Living Arts, we believe art can be a vehicle for social change. If the past few months have done nothing else, they have shown us that we are all going to have to do our part to create that change.
It’s no secret that Oklahoma has one of the worst records of welcoming immigrants. In 2007, as the United States fell into recession and anti-immigrant sentiment grew, the Oklahoma legislature passed House Bill 1804 and Governor Brad Henry signed it into law. Also known as the Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, the law’s stated purpose was to address “economic hardship and lawlessness” caused by illegal immigrants. More recently Oklahoma’s Governor, Mary Fallin, and Tulsa’s Mayor (at the time), Dewey Bartlett, stated that they will not accept any immigrants from the Syrian crisis. And now, the incoming administration wants to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S.
Through the Crossing Borders project, we hope to give voice to the immigrants who are coming to the United States to build a better life for themselves and their families. We also hope this month-long investigation will inform non-immigrant communities of these human stories and to perhaps change misconceptions about immigrants in our community. Through the power of Art, we hope to make these goals a reality in our city.
Crossing Borders Cover artwork: Monsters Business by José Antonio Pantoja Hernández