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Art became my window : California youth art activism in the undocumented rights movement

  • Author(s): Bartz, Virginia Elizabeth
  • et al.

Recent work in the field of Undocumented Studies has tended to consider Undocumented Youth as either victims or as resilient leaders in movements for Social Justice for migrants. However, the ways in which narratives are experienced and expressed within this population of young people has received little attention. This thesis looks to address this gap, by considering grassroots art activism that demonstrates complex and varied experiences of Undocumented Youth in California. Placing creative expression as a form of response to structural oppression within a history of artistic activism throughout the Americas, and situating current experiences of Undocumented Youth within the specific conditions of contemporary eras, this thesis uses in depth-qualitative research to consider experiences of Undocumented Youth in California. Starting with the impacts that art has on individual empowerment through interviews with young Undocumented art activists, then moving towards a focus on the art itself as a text to understand and complicate narratives related to education and Queer issues, this project explores Undocu-Youth led movements for justice during a period of intense state-led violence towards Undocumented Youth and their communities. This thesis finds art to be a powerful method of healing, connecting, learning, and sharing narratives, as well as space in which counter narratives and movements can be included in struggles for social justice

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