In Oakland, California, a small Guatemalan indigenous community has formed around a church led by Pastor Gomez. Through underground connection networks, the pastor learns of immigrants being released in Oakland. When they have nowhere to go, he rents a room for them to stay at a local motel where he works. With no money and no certainty of what lies ahead, these travel-weary migrants come to the motel to eat and rest and prepare for the next day. This film depicts individuals on the day of their release.
My parents came to the United States from Mexico in the 1970s. Much of my work has dealt with the dual identity of being a first generation American, and it was important for me to go back further to explore migration stories, particularly in this political and social climate.
On one day of filming, the individual I would be working with that day was already in the hotel room, waiting for me. I arrived and set up, and she sat on a couch. Before even rolling, she started to tell me her story.
In pursuing this project, I wanted to represent voices that are silenced or unheard because they are deemed insignificant. I am so honored that participants trusted me with their stories.