Jan 10, 2013

Year End Review from the Maker of Abused: The Postville Raid

Screen shot 2013-01-10 at 4

January 10, 2013

Source: Guatemala Scholars Network

The Story Continues

abUSed: The Postville Raid

2012 Year End Update

Some people say to me, “Are you still talking about abUSed: The Postville Raid?” And the resounding answer is: YES!  Of course the film is completed, but the events that took place in Postville, Iowa over four years ago continue to transform the lives of those associated with the raid. abUSed: The Postville Raid continues to garner attention and praise including premiering on the PBS World program America Reframed and winning “Best Documentary Audience Award” at Cinemaissi Film Festival in Finland.  

Your friendship and continued support have allowed us to show the stories of these new immigrants at nearly 200 venues across the United States and other countries including Argentina, Cuba, Finland, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Italy, Mexico, Austria, Spain, and Sweden.  

I write to you today to update you on our efforts in the past year and to ask for your help in completing the trailer for The U-Turn, my new film about the transformational journey of a group of immigrant families and of the individuals and communities who supported them after the Postville raid. In contributing to this new work you will be a part of advancing the positive face of immigration today.  The new immigrants of 2013 came here for the promise of freedom and opportunity, possessing the same aspirations of all immigrants that came before them. How we treat new immigrants reflects our commitment to the values that define us as Americans. You can be a part of the conversation by making a tax deductible contribution through our fiscal sponsor,  the New York Immigration Coalition:  DONATE HERE. Please make sure to designate your donation to the abUSed: The Postville Raid / The U-Turn Fund. 

This project has become so much more than the film. Showing it at schools and other organizations continues to be a large component of my work.  In July we gave a first-look presentation for The U-Turn at the Justice General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association in Phoenix, Arizona, which was attended by over 3,700 members; In September we presented the film in Baltimore, Maryland at the Training Community Conversations conference sponsored by the Lutheran Immigration Refugee Services.  In addition to participating in the event, we documented the presence of the Iowa delegation,  a group that was formed after the Postville raid to help in the resettlement of families that benefited from the U-Visa; In November we attended the Migration Policy and Advocacy in 2013 and Beyond sponsored by the Migration and Refugee Services-Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops in Atlanta, Georgia. 

We have also become a member of New Day Films and New Day Digital, a filmmaker-run distribution company providing award-winning films to educators since 1971. Democratically run by more than 100 filmmaker members, New Day delivers over 150 titles that illuminate, challenge and inspire. As a result of this partnership, we have began a marketing campaign targeted at educational institutions and public libraries.  If you wish to purchase abUSed: The Postville Raid for your school library or public library, please CLICK HERE. 

Hand-in-hand with the film, I have continued to be very involved in reuniting families that were separated during the raid and helping them to move forward with their lives in a meaningful way as part of their new community.  In August, for example, I accompanied three adults and two children of immigrant families from Guatemala to Postville, Iowa to be reunited with their families. This brings the number of U-Visa beneficiaries, as a result of the raid, to 96.

Back Row (L to R): Jesus Reyes Godinez, Luis Argueta, Angel Mario Junech, Guiselmy Junech.

Front Row (L to R):Tania Alvarez, (Representative, Foreign Affairs Ministry) Silvia Cúmez Soloví and Pablo Gómez.

So what’s next?  The Maya Media team has continued to document the stories of several U-Visa recipients and is hard at work on a trailer for The U-Turn. The film will show the challenges and triumphs of Rosa Zamora, Fermin Loyes and their two girls; young plant worker Joel Rucal and his mother and sister; and brother and sister Pedro and Samantha Lopez. Your end-of-year tax-deductible contribution will allow us to tell their stories at a crucial time when the country is ready to embrace a commonsense immigration reform. Please DONATE HERE and make sure to designate your donation to the abUSed: The Postville Raid / The U-Turn Fund. 

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