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Former Janitor Collects and Photographs Items Seized From Immigrants and Thrown Away By U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

 

Photo credit: © Thomas Kiefer/INSTITUTE

Photo credit: © Thomas Kiefer/INSTITUTE

 

It started with toothbrushes. Arizona-based photographer Thomas Kiefer had been working part-time as a janitor at the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in Ajo, some 40 miles from the Mexican border, for several years when he acted on his impulse to salvage— and to catalog—some of the hundreds of personal items thrown away in the facility. As hopeful American immigrants, many of them illegal, were apprehended and brought to the station, personal objects deemed “non-essential” were seized and disposed of during processing. With El Sueno Americano, or The American Dream, Kiefer tells the story of those who risked their freedom and their lives to cross the border through the many possessions they had to leave behind.

After taking the position at the station, the photographer was unsettled by the sheer volume of the food stuffs, hygienic products, and objects of personal …

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Black History Month: What Does It Mean To Be Afro-Latino?

Photo credit: losafrolatinos.com

Photo credit: losafrolatinos.com

 

It is a common misconception that all Latinos look a certain way and belong to a single race. Within Hispanics, Latinos and African-Americans are a multitude of ethnicities that require more specific recognition in order to be asserted. The short (and correct) definition of the term Afro-Latino would be: people with African descent whose origins are in Latin America and the Caribbean. Note that it is much more about where people and their ancestors came from, than it is about language or where they live. The ethnic group says it’s a struggle to feel left out of the Hispanic community and are seeking recognition from censuses to get more acceptance from both Latinos and African-Americans.

The Chief of the Bureau’s Racial Statistics Branch, Nicholas Jones says he believes “what we’re hearing from the Afro-Latino community is that they do not believe that those numbers accurately …

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Waterbury Latino Muhammed Ali Collection On Exhibit

Feliz Rodriquez with one of his prize items in his Muhammed Ali collection.

Feliz Rodriquez with one of his prize items in his Muhammed Ali collection.

 

Bill Sarno

CTLatinoNews.com

As Felix Rodriguez scans the community room at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury his eyes glow with pride. Mounted on the wall and filling several display cases are dozens of boxing items, paintings, autographed photos and other memorabilia related to the iconic American sports figure Muhammed Ali that the Waterbury resident has collected over nearly three decades.

 For Rodriguez, who is a Waterbury native, author and member of the city school board, each element in the exhibit, whether it be a comic book, a Broadway poster or an autographed photo of Ali in the ring, rekindles personal memories or a story about the world famous fighter.

 At age of 13, Rodriguez, whose parents came from Puerto Rico to Waterbury in 1967, read his first biography of Ali and immediately become a devoted fan.

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