During the research, we also found several misjudgments concerning migration, among them the well known fear that migrants steal jobs from the local population and receive benefits without paying taxes. Also the media coverage focused mostly on the negative aspects of migration. Researchers of Oxford University found out that the most common word to be used in connection with migrants is ’illegal’, although the illegal migrants make up less than one-third of all immigrants in the United States.
Against this background, we asked ourselves how the public perception of migrants could be turned from the fear of „the other“ into curiosity and then into appreciation and understanding.
To further investigate this, we started to work with Puente Arizona, a grassroots organization for human rights and migrant justice, and Puente Ink, an arts co-op collective project of Puente. At one community event we also got to know Tess Acevedo, a Phoenix based educator, artist, activist and storyteller, that practices storytelling to communicate issues concerning social inequality.
We decided to try out, whether interactive storytelling is an adequate method to better understand ourselves, our communities and our world through sharing experiences. On Friday, Nov 6th, we gathered together to constitute co-living scenarios, analyse and rethink the reality, which we are living in.
We learned that interactive storytelling, along with other practices, is a powerful tool to initiate community dialogue, using the advantage of another imaginary to get a different perspective on delicate topics like the perception on migrants.