Mellon Public Scholar Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana: Making Immigration Discourse More Inclusive through Art

Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana, PhD candidate in Spanish at UC Davis, took her research on U.S./Mexico migration to the literal border this summer. As a 2019 Mellon Public Scholar, she conceived of, orchestrated, and painted her digitally interactive Playas de Tijuana Mural Project directly on the border wall. The mural, which portrays seven faces that show what it means to be a childhood arrival to the United States from Mexico, builds on De La Cruz Santana’s previous archival work in UC Davis’ Humanizando la Deportación (Humanizing Deportation) working group and her own digital storytelling project, DACAmented: DREAMs Without Borders. Furthermore, it extends her dissertation inquiry, asking, “Who are the real childhood arrivals to the US?” In so doing, the mural works toward a more inclusive discussion of immigration to consider anyone who was brought into the United States as a child, regardless of immigration status. 

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