The Portraying Humanity Project
The Migrant and Immigrant Community Action (MICA) Project is a community organization in St. Louis committed to helping low-income immigrants overcome barriers to justice. Through legal services, advocacy, education, and community programs, MICA Project promotes the voice and human dignity of immigrants. MICA Project has helped thousands of the over 250,000 immigrants in the St. Louis area from nearly 50 different countries.
In 2017, MICA Project desired to capture photographs and oral histories of their clients. They wanted to capture the humanity of their clientele and debunk the misleading and negative political discourse about immigrants. Often times, client stories are limited to the details relevant to the immigrant process. This photograph project would demonstrate the courage and contributions of these immigrant families to the St. Louis community.
With support from the Missouri Humanities Council, MICA Project hosted a gallery event on April 29, 2017 to showcase the photographs and personal histories of eight clients and families. They also displayed artwork from local elementary and middle school students related to the theme “Where I Come From”. The clients were empowered to share their stories with the larger community. Guests were receptive to the stories and began to see these immigrant families in a more positive and dignified light. The event demonstrated the life, beauty, and universal bonds of humanity that unite all people regardless of their country of birth.