School social worker and photographer give undocumented students a voice

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All across the United States, undocumented students are forced to suffer in silence because of the constant fear of being deported from the only country that they know. They’re our neighbors, our friends, our students, and our future—and now some are getting a chance to tell their stories through a Salt Lake City-based photo exhibit documenting their struggles.

“There was so much stereotyping about illegal immigrants, and I thought if people understood the stories and knew these kids, they might think differently,” says Annie Brewer, a social worker in the Salt Lake City School District in Salt Lake City, Utah. Brewer decided to produce a photo exhibit called “DREAMers: Living in the Shadow of Hope.”

Brewer was frustrated by the lack of opportunities that she saw available for undocumented students in her school district, so she decided that the only way to change public opinion was to give a voice to these otherwise voiceless students. She had seen a photo exhibit on refugees that highlighted their personal stories, and she wondered why the same idea couldn’t be extended to undocumented students.

“I thought, ‘why can’t we do the same thing with these undocumented kids?’ ”  Brewer says. “I think generally the public just does not really understand the situation.”

Read the rest of the article on NEA Today.

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