MEDIA RELEASE: NC Justice Center presents “Home to Me," a new series highlighting the lives of North Carolina’s immigrants

The video series will document immigrant individuals and families whose lives are directly impacted by immigration reform and state policy debates

RALEIGH (December 18, 2013) – On December 18, International Migrants Day, a new video series will document and explore how immigrants have become an integral part of communities across North Carolina.

The NC Justice Center will release the first video in the new “Home to Me: Immigrant Stories from NC” series, which will highlight the lives of North Carolina immigrants and their families. The series aims to put a face on North Carolina’s immigrant communities by sharing the stories of individuals and families across the state from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.

Through video and other multimedia components, North Carolinians will hear from immigrants in their own words. The series offers an opportunity to explore the challenges some immigrants face in our state, the importance of immigration reform, and how North Carolina has become home to thousands of people from all over the world.

“We’re delighted to launch this new series on International Migrants Day, a day celebrated worldwide, in the words of the UN resolution, ‘to encourage the dissemination of information on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, the sharing of experience and the design of actions to ensure their protection,’” said Dani Moore, Director of the Immigrant & Refugee Right project. “The stories of our friends and neighbors from across North Carolina offer a glimpse into what life is like for immigrants in our local communities and a call to action for us to become the kind of state we all need and deserve.”

This month’s video features Valeria Sotelo, a student at Salem College. Born in Mexico, Valeria’s DREAMer documentation allows her to be here legally for two more years but she isn’t sure whether she’ll be able to find work once she’s done with school. Even if the DREAM Act were to pass, Valeria said, her parents – who work hard and pay taxes – would still face challenges to becoming citizens. Valeria wants lawmakers to consider the individuals who have come to call North Carolina their home and have worked tirelessly to achieve their dreams, both for themselves and their families.

“[North Carolina] has been home to me for 16 years,” Valeria said. “It’s all I know.”

Viewers are encouraged to share “Home to Me” stories on social media (using hashtags #HomeToMe and #IAMaMigrant) to demonstrate how immigrants are part of the fabric of our state and to highlight the need for policies that respect the humanity of all of our neighbors. "Home to Me" offers North Carolinians a chance to engage in dialogue about the future of our state and our economy, address questions of global justice and local ties, overcome the “Us versus Them” divisiveness of past immigration debates, and advance public policies that move us forward together.

Watch Valeria’s story here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clfc-qYN7R8

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Dani Moore, dani@ncjustice.org, 919.856.2178; Jeff Shaw, jeff@ncjustice.org, 503.551.3615 (cell).