Community | Comunidad: 2013 Documentary Work

A Single Beam of Light: Reflections on SAF Documentary Work

By Charles D. Thompson, Jr.
Imagine you are Enrique. You’ve left your home and family to follow your father to work in Louisburg, North Carolina. You will live for half a year in a trailer on a farm on a back road. You have no transportation of your own. Your life centers on work in tobacco and vegetables. You live with your father and fourteen others from various Mexican states who share this cluster of trailers with you. Once a week you’re bused to town with the other men to buy groceries, do laundry, and send money home. Then you’re back for the rest of the week on the same rancho. This is your first experience away from home; the first time you’ve been away from your mother and sister and little brother. At least you have your father. But everything else is different...
Read the full piece here.

Documentary Videos

Rompecabezas | Puzzles by Beatriz Cruz, Edith Valle, and Jaslina Paintal

“Yes, my dad is a big help because as he said, I wouldn’t know how to get on a bus, how to get here, how to face the boss or things like that.”




Aspire to Change: Acounts from the Migrant Front by Cindy Ramirez and Eric Britton

“Just keep on trying. Keep looking up. Keep looking ahead because if you don’t aspire to something more, you’re going to stay put right there.”




Sow. Pray. Harvest
by Kate Furgurson

“It’s pretty here. A lot of work, a lot of food, a lot of… well, everything. Right?”





Getting Ahead
by Eliza Hardy and Steffany Barrios

“Make an effort to study so you don’t have to work so hard in the field because yes, working in the field is very tough. Yes. My advice is to study, to not forget to study so you can work in something… easier, more comfortable.”


Photo Essays

Fighting for a Better Day
by Daniel Guzman and Julie King

“The most important thing for me is that my children don’t have to go through what I’m going through right now. I want them to get a degree so that they don’t have to come here because here it’s difficult and if they have a career in Mexico it’s going to be a different level for them. And that is what I want for them.”



Two workers with a Great Heart
by Clara Varela

“It’s been good and has made for a better relationship with my coworkers, because it’s easier to have a means of transportation. Obviously, colleagues have come to this farm for the first time; and not only them, anyone who has at some point asked for help to take them to the store, take them to the bank or some other place and if I have the time after work, I will gladly help them because they are in need.”

Photos by Daniel Orozco and Yessenia Marquez

Uniting Communities
by Daniel Orozco and Yessenia Marquez

“I wish there were no differences because we are all human and we all come to this country from all countries; we come here looking for a better life but many times we find discrimination and humiliation and you only come here looking to make a living for yourself and your family. You come here to work and not to steal or ask for things because you want to earn your keep, earn a salary on your own, that’s it.”




Juan's Journey by Jasmine Romero and Jocelyn Moratzka

“I don’t feel guilty for not doing what I was doing before because if there is a purpose for me, it’s in this country. You come here, you risk your life, you know that you can find death or you know that you can come here to get what you want or for what they bring you here for.”


Brightening Horizons with Education by Carmen Ramirez and Lizeth Cruz

“They think it’s easy to earn money [in the United States] and when one goes over there, to Mexico, they envy you because you have a little bit more than them and well, they envy you and you can’t go out to the street comfortably because of that same reason… there’s a lot of teasing. But they can’t imagine how painful it is here and I would like for them to find out.”


A Community United
by Jesus Nieto

“Um… I think it’s the actual sense of the word. I break it down and it kind of puts two words together; common and unity. And when you put that together it just, it’s pretty much, people who have things in common who come together.”