A Republican mayor in small-town Georgia befriends his Mexican neighbors and reconsiders his views on the state’s immigration laws. An undocumented Fijian immigrant grows close to the elderly woman she cares for and finds some peace amid her constant fears that she’ll be deported.
While we all know that countless touching stories from immigrants exist — whether focused on their new country, the places they left, or their journeys between the two locals — they’re often never told. But now, they can be, thanks to the new website, Immigrant Nation.
The first-of-its-kind interactive storytelling platform calls on visitors to submit transmedia content (a type of storytelling that uses multiple formats, including digital ones) describing their own, their parents’, or their grandparents’ journeys to the United States.
More than 150 of the site’s users have already done so — mainly in the form of slideshows that, to viewers, are like taking a glimpse inside captioned family photo albums. This user-generated content sits alongside short documentary films, and soon, it’ll also be shared at live events in diverse communities, where attendees will be encouraged to share their own immigrant tales.
The Immigrant Nation project — and the website itself — is designed to get visitors thinking about interconnectedness. As part of its search function, the site applies keyword tags to each person’s story and also maps them onto charts of country-specific data pulled from official U.S. government immigrant arrival records.This makes it easy to explore the answers to all kinds of questions on the site: When did the largest wave of immigrants from various countries enter the U.S., and what was it like to pass through Ellis Island during that time? Who left my country 20 years before I did? Who else has a migration story similar to mine?
So when Immigrant Nation asks, “where does your family’s story begin?” we encourage you to answer.