Category Archives: Event

Tony and Janina’s American Wedding, a Boise screening

“Tony & Janina’s American Wedding” Trailer from Ruth Leitman on Vimeo.

The Exploring Amor and Exile Last Thursday Series, in partnership with Boise City Arts and History Dept. Artists in Residence Program at 8th Street Marketplace, will present Ruth Leitman’s award-winning immigration documentary Tony & Janina’s American Wedding this week.

Film Premier Details
What: Tony & Janina’s American Wedding
When: 7-9 p.m., Thursday June 30, 2011
Where: The Cole/Marr Photography Workshops, 8th Street Marketplace, Lower Level, 404 S. 8th St, Boise, Idaho
Suggested donations of $7 – $10 will benefit the filmmakers as they take the film across the country and fight to reunite Tony and Janina. Or support the film on its IndieGoGo page.

Tony & Janina’s American Wedding is a feature length documentary that gets to the heart of the broken, red-tape ridden U.S. immigration system. After 18 years in America, Tony and Janina Wasilewski’s family is torn apart when Janina is deported back to Poland, taking their six-year-old son Brian with her. Set on the backdrop of the Chicago political scene, and featuring Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez at the heart of the immigration reform movement, this film follows the Wasilewski’s three-year struggle to be reunited, as their Senator, Barack Obama, rises to the Presidency. With a fresh perspective on the immigration conversation, this film tells the untold, post-9/11 human rights story that every undocumented immigrant in America faces today, with the power to open the conversation for change.

Read an interview with Leitman and Tony Wasilewski at the Baltimore City Paper and a profile in the Chicago Tribune.

(Cross posted at Amor and Exile.)

New article to be published in time for Cinco de Mayo

My first “peer reviewed” article is being published this week in Idaho Landscapes, a journal published by Boise State University’s Division of Research and College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs, along with the Idaho State Historical Society and Idaho State University. I wrote a history of Mexican music in the State of Idaho for this issue, an expansion on a story I did for the Boise Weekly in 2009. I put “peer reviewed” in quotes here, because in some ways newspaper articles are peer reviewed as well. But I was honored to be read by university historians and social scientists and to pass their academic smell test on this piece. And the story was very fun to revisit.

In fact, it starts far from Idaho, in rural Michoacán State in January, where I was visiting a man from Idaho who will be part of Amor and Exile. The band Banda Cuisillos was playing the weekend I was there, at the Santa Gertrudis rodeo grounds. We didn’t go to the concert, but we stood outside the rodeo grounds and watched the scene for a long time and I was struck by the connections to the U.S. in general and to Idaho in particular that I found. I write about those deep connections in the Idaho Landscapes story.

Here’s just one of those connections (note the venue in this video):

The magazine will be released on Thursday, May 5 at Boise State’s Center on the Main, 1020 Main St. (The Alaska Building). Doors open at 6 pm, program at 7 pm including Mariachi Tleyotltzin. I’ll sign your copy …

Click to view the poster for Cinco de Mayo and the release of Idaho Landscapes in Boise.

And here’s some really rad music I came across while reporting the story. This is music made in Idaho, mind you:

First 8th Street Event

Ben "Chupacabras" Reed and Deyanira Escalona
Last Thursdays Series: Exploring Amor and Exile
April 28, 7-8:30 pm
Cole/Marr Coffee House in the Lower Level of the 8th Street Marketplace (next to Café Olé – 404 S. 8th Street)

Exploring Amor and Exile #1

Question: What would you do if your fiancée was detained at LAX and deported?

Come meet Idahoan Benjamin Reed and his wife, Deyanira Escalona, one of the couples featured in the upcoming book Amor and Exile, by 8th Street Artist in Residence Nathaniel Hoffman. The book is co-authored by Nicole Salgado, an American citizen living in Mexico.

Participate in a live Skype video interview with Ben and Deyanira from their new home on the Yucatán Peninsula. Bring a mobile device so that you can help Hoffman crowdsource the interview and share your reactions live, providing valuable input as the book is drafted.

Hear all about American love exiles, experience participatory journalism, have a hot beverage and overcome the national immigration stalemate all in one evening.

Find Amor and Exile @amorandexile on Twitter or, soon, on Facebook.

Coming to Idaho, America

The question of immigration enforcement at the state level is coming to a head in the wake of Arizona’s SB 1070. An appeal in the federal case against the Arizona law will be heard on Monday at the 9th Circuit Court, before an interesting three-judge panel. Politico reported this week that one of the federal judges hearing the state’s appeal was at one time ordered deported, an order he beat.

Idaho and other states are watching the case, but states like Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Mississippi are champing at the bit to pass their own versions of the Arizona law, allowing for local enforcement of federal immigration policy. A report from ImmigrationWorks USA , which represents business interests dependent on immigrant labor, categorizes states based on their eagerness to legislate nativism copy Arizona’s SB 1070. (Idaho is a “maybe/maybe not” in the report.)

But it’s not just ICE-envy at the state level that is being tested; yesterday the 9th Circuit struck down another Arizona law that required proof of citizenship for voter registration. The court found that the registration requirement violated the National Voter Registration Act. (A separate provision of the Arizona law, that voters show ID before voting, was left intact; Idaho has a similar ID law that went into effect this year.)

So there are plenty of policy matters regarding this state-federal immigration question to discuss. The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho and College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs at Boise State are holding a public policy forum on November 9 in the Jordan Ballroom at Boise State to explore many of these questions. I’m going to miss the morning sessions on federal and state legislation, the increasing partnerships between ICE and local law enforcement and the impact of Arizona, but I hope to get to the conference in the p.m. for a discussion of immigration and race.

There will be several national figures in the immigration rights movement in town for the event, including Tyler Moran, policy director for the National Immigration Law Center, who actually lives in Boise. ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project staff attorney Andre Segura and Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Policy Director Hans Meyer will also be on hand, as will Boise-based immigration attorney Maria Andrade, who has provided some advice and assistance with my book project.

Tickets and Conference Agenda
8:30 a.m.-9:15 a.m., Registration & Continental Breakfast
9:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m., Federal and State Legislative Update
11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m., ICE and Local Law Enforcement (Working lunch)
1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m., Arizona and Beyond
3:15 p.m.-4:45 p.m., Race and Immigration
5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Reception and Networking