More than 100 Miami University students listened to tales of immigrants’ journeys across borders and their fight to survive in a country that’s increasingly unaccepting of immigrants-legal or not.
“Human Stories of Inhuman Treatment” was performed Monday night in MacMillan Hall. The approximately 20-minute play, written by Barbara Gutting, a retired high school theater instructor, showcased the real life trials of four different immigrants and their attempts for a “better life” in Cincinnati.
Margaret Singer; a member of Su Casa Hispanic Center, an organization that helps provide immigrants with jobs and other basic necessities; produced the play.
The Cincinnati Immigrant Theater, which is comprised of three Latino actors, performed the play. The three actors, all in their mid-20s and who immigrated from Peru as young adults, performed the stories and then shared their own experiences of their trip to Cincinnati-allowing audience embers to ask questions afterward.
Gutting made sure that the audience was able to fully understand what immigrants go through, highlighting individual stories as well as common stereotypes of immigrants held by the American public.
Angela VanHorn, president of Student Activists for Language and Cultural Exchange (SALCE) at Miami, arranged for the production to come to Miami.
VanHorn explained that the play was brought to Miami as a way to combat stereotypes about immigrants that are often misconstrued.
“If we keep doing events like these, we can help people learn other perspectives,” VanHorn said. “It helps because a lot of people are misinformed and there are a lot of people who don’t know anything about it.”
The actors themselves also want to spread a message.
Luis Pojores, one of the Peruvian actors, wants to teach people what it is to be an immigrant.
“I want to teach people something about our life and why we come here,” Pojores said. “I want to get a degree, a nice job, and I want to bring my son back from Peru. I’m just trying to do my best.”
Pia Munoz, another central actor, feels that people need to be more aware.
“Everybody has to open their minds about it,” Munoz said. “The more people that listen, the more they can open their minds. We’re not coming here to steal people’s jobs we’re taking jobs that nobody wants.”
The whole idea behind the play, Singer said, was to bring about awareness.
“It’s about the personal contact and real life experiences that leave the audience with a lasting effect,” Singer said.
But the overall message, Singer said, was to encourage the government to change immigration law to comprehensive immigration reform.
“These are stories of heartbreaking courage that should inspire us all to demand humane and comprehensive immigration reform now,” Singer said.
Munoz explained that process of coming to America for immigrants is difficult.
“Getting here is nothing easy,” Munoz said.
However, Pojores feels all these difficulties are worth it in the end.
“We have a dream and that is why we come here,” Pojores said.