SMALL TRUTHS: THE IMMIGRATION EXPERIENCE THROUGH THE EYES OF CHILDREN
SMALL TRUTHS portrays an integral facet of immigration via the words and visages of children.Second graders in a Staten Island, NYC public school are filmed as they present written and illustrated pieces based on an experience of their choice, “Write something, a few sentences to describe - an important memory or event - so that when you tell it, someone will understand what it’s like to be you”.
The overall tone is upbeat, often funny and charming. Their stories are simple and cheerful - washday chores in Mexico, making pizza with mom, a visit to the park; a few are recollections of upsetting or traumatic events - parent deportation, a dad as a crime victim, a house fire, a snake bite.
Additional footage was shot in their homes and neighborhood, a blighted area with a transient population, largely Hispanic with a large influx of Mexicans. Bias issues plague the community.
The principal, AP, ESL specialist and a classroom teacher offer commentary, explaining approaches employed to help students reach their potential. A charismatic social worker specializing in the challenges of newcomers provides a narrative thread. Lightly underscored is the relevance of strategically applied arts programming in public schools.
Using the reportage of children is an equalizer, an illumination of universal human similarities... and testimony to shared values. Hearing their earnest voices and learning the travails of their families spurs respect. The tenor is gently optimistic.
Please visit the Small Truths Project website at www.smalltruthsproject.com/