Students from Erin Chen’s three Washington State history classes created Immigration Portraits, a series of audio stories based on interviews the students conducted with each other about leaving their home countries to come to America. They talked about why they came to the US, what they had left behind, and how their lives had changed. Jack Straw’s artist team trained the students to conduct interviews and helped them write questions that would bring out the students’ individual stories. Our engineers and media producer worked with the students to record their interviews.
With the interviews recorded, the students worked with our teaching artists to select highlights from the interviews and write their narration. Our voice coaches coached the students in reading their narration out loud, providing the students with both language and performance support. The students then came to the Jack Straw studios to record their narration with our voice coaches and engineers. The interview segments and narration were edited and mixed at Jack Straw to create their final audio stories.
Karen Barillas Ramos came to the United States from El Salvador. She was interviewed by her fellow students Azeb Fitalew, Gabriela Marinero Aguirre, Rashed Almuti, Zaid Almuti, Nour Hafez, and Joseph Lossi Paul.
Abdoulie Jatabarry came to the United States from Gambia. He was interviewed by his fellow students Yong Cong Wu, Cris Lopez Lopez, Anthony Aguilar Calvario, Oscar Herrera Lopez, Sreileab Mean, and Vi Nguyen.
Dan Vuong came to the United States from Vietnam. He was interviewed by his fellow students Shaozhong Cai, Yu Lan Ma, Chuen Tan, Yeimy Mata Cartagena, and Aminata Tunkara.
Pedro Alexander Ca Rodas came to the United States from Guatemala. He was interviewed by his fellow students Betelihem Gebre, Encarnacion Gabriel Lopez, Haylynn Barrera Torres, and Brayan Barraza.
Shakhzoda Botirova came to the United States from Uzbekistan. She was interviewed by her fellow students Son Bui, Hieu Pham, and Aster Gebreyohannes.
Jalene Debelu came to the United States from Ethiopia. She was interviewed by her fellow students Nhu Tran, Kehan Liu, Alison Mata, and Jian Ming Huang.
Antonio Nhalocame to the United States from Angola. He was interviewed by his fellow students Jiahao Wang, Diana Martinez, Fatia Ame, Long Le, and Edy Xante Lucas.
Maobin Liang came to the United States from China. He was interviewed by his fellow students Faten Al Hosni, Milton Alejandro Aguirre Coello, Giselle Oseguera Avila, Junlin Ling, Antonio Vicente Lucas, and Antonio Pelico Chaj.
Dajun Liu came to the United States from China. He was interviewed by his fellow students Van Vuong, Yordanos Gebregiziabher, Yi Lan Wu, Belinda Dominguez, and Tuan Huy Hoang Lu.
The Jack Straw artist team included vocal coaches Alyssa Keene and Katya Landau; audio engineers Daniel Guenther, Joel Maddox, and Ayesha Ubayatilaka; production interns Hans Christian and Connor Wang; designer Levi Fuller; video producer Lisa Waagd, photographer Sherwin Eng; and Executive Director Joan Rabinowitz.
Special thanks to Seattle World School teacher Erin Chen, Principal Bruno Cross, and Librarian James Scarlett-Lyon. This project was made possible with support from 4Culture/King County Lodging Tax Fund, The Adobe Foundation, Harvest Foundation, Umpqua Bank Community Giving Program, and the Washington State Arts Commission. Original music from the album Letting Go by Karen Kajita, created through the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.