Communications Coordinator Fanny García spent some time in September with Otros Dreams en Acción, an organization committed to mutual support and political action for and by people who lived in the United States and now find themselves back in México due to deportation, the deportation of a relative, or forced return. ODA is affiliated with Los Otros Dreamers, a community-published anthology of stories and photos about the experience of return and deportation to Mexico after having grown up in the United States. Los Otros Dreams was nominated for inclusion in Groundswell’s Mixtape 2.0., a multimedia resource that will feature in-depth case studies of successful social justice oral history/narrative work. It will give readers/listeners a look into the nitty-gritty of what has made each project impactful - as well as honest assessments of the challenges and tensions encountered along the way.
ODA provides three basic but crucial services to people in México City. They include a drop-in cultural space called Poch@ House which provides a location for people to access internet, meet with activists and lawyers, and coordinate activities and social support and creative workshops. With its many events and activities Poch@ House aims to appreciate, celebrate and assert “a new hybrid and multifaceted culture in Mexico; that of Spanglish, exile, and claiming belonging aquí y alla.”
ODA also helps people with what they define as “trans-local” legal services. This means that the organization develops crucial relationships with attorneys in the United States located in the specific cities and towns where many of their members have been deported from. Doing so helps ensure the continuation of their deportation case even after the person has arrived in México.
Additionally, ODA’s Mobility Project provides financial support and guidance to deportees navigating the complex process of obtaining their tourist visa from the United States so that they may travel back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico and maintain connection to families and communities.
Finally, the Family Fund helps raise monies to facilitate travel for many of those deported. Recently, the organization launched an online fundraiser through PayPal for a father who needed to travel to Atlanta, Georgia to visit his young son. The organization succeeded in raising more than $4,000 for to help 6 year old Sheamus travel to Mexico City to visit his father Diego after a long separation that began when his father was deported.
Although the legal support and accompaniment services that ODA provides to its community is crucial, one of the most vital parts of their work involves identity building and empowerment for the multi-diverse individuals they connect with on a daily basis. The organization does this through skills building workshops on photography, literature, dance, theater and organizing at Poch@ House. Here’s one example of a workshop starting in September and through October.
Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change is grateful to Otros Dreams en Acción for their hospitality in México City and hopes to continue the relationship with the planning and development of oral history workshops provided for free to ODA members in the future. If you know of any funding opportunities for this endeavor, please contact Fanny García at firstname.lastname@example.org.