Dr. Steve Pavey traveled to Montreal, QC, Canada to present a paper at the 110th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. The paper presentation was part of a SUNTA (Society for Urban, National and Transnational/Global Anthropology) sponsored session entitled “’Coming Out’: Traces, Tidemarks and Legacies of LGBT Politics in the DREAM Movement.” In this paper Steve continues to build theoretically on his ethnographic research and activism with undocumented youth for immigrant rights.
The Undocumented Immigrant Youth Movement: Coming Out of the Shadows of Fear and Shame, Into the Light of their own Story and Community
This paper is based on activism with and ethnography of the dream activist movement. It seeks to capture the diversity within this movement out the shadows, a movement searching for and claiming rights of “dreamers” to live, work and go to school in the United States. The ethnographic description is built around the central themes of story and community while exploring theoretical questions of subjectivity, agency, and structural power. The paper privileges the voice of the dreamers who are coming out of the shadows, declaring their status as, “Undocumented, Unafraid, and Unapologetic.” Nationally, the focus of both research and media reports has been largely on the barriers and access to education, while often missing the broader socio-political context of the lived experiences of undocumented youth. Our ongoing research projects hope to fill a gap by intentionally using the light of those who are stepping out of the shadows to illuminate the majority of undocumented youth who remain in the shadows.