by Wendy Buendia
Art is meant to provoke emotion, it is the ultimate goal of discovery in oneself and the world. Reading is a less formally categorized artistic medium, but brings the same influence that more “traditional” artistic mediums have on sculpting minds and hearts. The cultivation of one’s perspective can only be achieved through interaction. This can be through studying the complexity of emotion constructed through fiber and weaving, or entering the mindset of a Central American migrant as they bid farewell to their homeland. The latter is accomplished through the power of the pen, or more accurately the keyboard.
A politically complicated topic such as, who is considered a refugee cannot be summed up in just a few words. Catalina Rodriguez is a writer who weaves the aspirations and voices of the Central American migrants with the historians’ perspective on the role of Central America and the United States. Her words implore readers to delve into context instead of focusing on finding the answers. It is the questions themselves that can hold the answers, and lead to new inquiries and understanding that immerse the reader deeper into this topic.
Perspective shapes and controls any medium, whether that be a canvas or pen and paper. The words on a page are a definite contrast of black and white, a complete opposite to the complex and conflicted stories that paint a person’s experience and perspective. One person’s perspective brings the vibrant colors of life to paper, so imagine the tremendous impact that multiple perspectives will have composed into one text. The work of Catalina Rodríguez Tapia, entitled Conflicted: Voices of Central American Migrants, demonstrates how Central American immigration is presented as a black and white issue by analysts and policymakers while the voices of the people directly impacted are silenced before a word escapes their lips. Conflicted: Voices of Central American Immigrants presents the voices that are central to this politically complicated issue, ensuring readers will understand firsthand how the freedom of choice disappears when the myriad of danger and death leaves only one dire, uncertain path to survival.
So today (June 20th), on World Refugee Day, and for the days that follow after, it is vital to learn. So many factors can influence a decision that may not promise results, all for the chance to provide a better future to themselves and their loved ones.