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April 24, 2022

Responding To: Innovating Protection for Migrant and Asylum-Seeking Children in U.S. Communities

In Their Own Words: In the United States

Identity, Theatre for Change

Listen to Audio

The stories in this audio clip were shared by migrant and asylum-seeking youth who recently arrived in Montgomery County, Maryland. Their stories are narrated here by voice actors to protect their identity.

The young people are involved with Identity, a local, community-based organization that works with thousands of Latino and other underserved young people and their families living in high poverty neighborhoods across Montgomery County after school, in the community, and on playing fields to improve their social-emotional well-being, achieve academic success, and prepare for work.

The voice actors work with Imagination Stage’s Theatre for Change program, which uses theatre productions and educational workshops to bridge cultural divides and lift up underrepresented voices.

Theatre for Change explores complex social justice issues to help build a new generation of compassionate, collaborative children who are capable of changing the world.

Identity is a local, community-based organization that works with thousands of Latino and other underserved young people and their families living in high-poverty neighborhoods across Montgomery County.

Julio: Nos mojamos por cruzar el rio. They put us in a hielera for four days. We’re still wet. No new clothes. Solo la ropa mojada. They give us aluminum foil to cover ourselves. I try to sleep, but guards wake us up to check our wrist bands. Me separan de los pequeños. I was supposed to watch them because I am the oldest. But, the little ones get sent back. Su mama no contesta el teléfono, así que regresan a El Salvador. When I come to Maryland, I only have shorts and a light jacket. Esta frio. It’s snowing. It could have been better if I had food and clothing right when I left Casa Hogar.

Alfredo: We sleep on the floor. Con cobijas de aluminio. Twelve hours in a hielera. I know I finally made it when I leave that place. I go to rooms. Consigo ropa, pan y zapatos. I finally made it. Voy a la Casa Hogar en Houston. Then in New York. We learn English there. Primero vivo con mi Tio, but he doesn’t pay me attention. So, I go live with mis primos. Identity helps the most. Mi escuela ayuda con la comida. I worry about rent. Paying a lawyer. I may need help with…talking to someone. A veces me siento muy triste.

Jasmine: I didn’t realize that we would be separated. Cuando la inmigración nos atrapa, no estoy con Tío y Tía. Four days apart. Despues de la hielera, I’m back with Tio y Tia. Then, we come to Maryland. I could use help with school. I could use help learning English. Soon, I want to find work. También podría usar ayuda con eso.

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