Empowering undocumented young people to achieve educational and career goals
FAMILY REUNIONS PROJECT
Project Leaders: Alvaro Morales (Peru) and Frisly Soberanis (Guatemala)
The Family Reunions Project (“FRP”) is exploring how virtual reality (“VR”) technology will challenge physical borders and reunite undocumented immigrants to their families, hometowns, and home cultures. VR is hailed for its ability to transport. We’re using this power to give undocumented immigrants and their families more immersive and meaningful connections to one another than what current communication mediums allow. Our VR reunions will begin with off-line, edited “VR postcards” but will soon include live-streaming and 3D-mapping.
The FRP grew out of our own histories. We’ve experienced the heartbreak caused by loss and separation. We have shared the struggle of our parents attempting to blur distances via calling cards, Western Unions, and visa petitions. More importantly, we have witnessed the beauty of technological advances chipping away at political restrictions. We vividly remember our parents' tears of joy from the first time they used video calling to connect with relatives abroad. Additionally, we can attest that few moments in life can match family gatherings spent searching YouTube for glimpses of homelands left behind. Our lives, like many others in the undocumented community, have been shaped by stalled policy yet rapidly-evolving technology. For this reason, we’re taking action and applying a nascent medium towards providing the reunions denied by policy.
Reunions will be documented and curated as part of a multimedia project guided by the following goals: illustrate the beauty and complexity of immigrant stories from diverse backgrounds in their own voices; shape VR’s application just as exploration of its world-changing potential takes off; and explore how VR can connect the world rather than isolate it.
For more information about the Family Reunions Project and how to become a participant, connect with us on Facebook: @FamilyReunionsProject.