Project Partner: Latin American Youth Center (LAYC)
As youth immigrants and activists, the Latino Youth Leadership Council of LAYC recognized the urgent need for youth-driven #OwnVoices stories to provided a human face to the current immigration debate. Few books reflected their reality, so they decided to do something about that: they wrote their own.
Now, through Voces Sin Fronteras: Our Stories, Our Truth, these teens are inspiring, motivating, and educating others by telling their own stories of immigration and transformation in comics form.
by the Latino Youth Leadership Council of LAYC
With a foreword by Newbery Medal-winning author Meg Medina
During a time of heated immigration debate and unrest, this book is an opportunity to hear directly from youth who are often in the headlines but whose stories don’t get told in full. Sixteen young people from the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) in Washington, D.C. came together to tell their own stories of immigration and transformation in comics form. The result is this side-by-side bilingual collection of graphic memoirs that not only builds connections across language, but also breaks down barriers and expands hope.
En tiempos de inquietud y acalorados debates sobre la inmigración, este libro representa una oportunidad para escuchar directamente a los jóvenes quienes suelen ocupar los titulares en la prensa, pero cuyas historias no se alcanzan a narrar por completo. Dieciséis jóvenes del Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) en Washington, D.C. se unieron para contar sus propias historias de inmigración y de transformación en formato de cómic. El resultado es esta colección de memorias gráficas bilingüe, que no sólo construye conexiones entre los idiomas, sino que también elimina barreras y abre un espacio a la esperanza.
During the summer of 2017, Shout Mouse Press held a month-long workshop with LAYC's Latino Youth Leadership Council (LYLC), a passionate group of young people dedicated to social justice in their community. The workshop, led by a team of teaching artists with experience devising and illustrating comic books, resulted in this graphic memoir collection by Latinx youth that inspires, motivates, and educates its readers, and that changes the narrative about America's immigrants.
The missions of LAYC and Shout Mouse Press converge in this project: we want all young people to feel empowered to speak their truth. This mission is especially important for those whose voices are too often silenced, or devalued. The determination of these authors to share their truest selves on the page is an act of courage. It inspires respect; it expands empathy. This book gives rise to not only their voices, but to the voices of all those living in shadows whose stories go untold.
The Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) is a DC-based nonprofit organization that offers a variety of programming to low-income youth of all backgrounds. Their mission is to empower a diverse population of youth to achieve a successful transition to adulthood, through multi-cultural, comprehensive, and innovative programs that address youths’ social, academic, and career needs.
Since their founding in the late 1960s, LAYC has grown from a small grassroots recreation center to a nationally recognized agency serving all low-income youth. Each year, LAYC serves over 4,000 youth and families through youth centers, school-based sites, and public charter schools in the District of Columbia and Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties.
'Voces sin Fronteras' is a graphic novel-style book of 32 short stories documenting hardships Latinx Immigrants faced in their home countries, as well as in the United States.
Ranging from the loss of family members who leave home for a better life, whether for employment or educational opportunities or to be closer to family members, they are the true stories of people who participated in the Latino Youth Leadership Council, part of the Columbia Heights-base nonprofit organization, the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC).
"Issues about immigration and its impact on families have been prominent in the current US political scene, with a gross amount of injustice and racism cast toward many people seeking asylum. This book is an excellent entry into this political conversation, with sixteen true accounts from the lives of young people who have come over from Latin American countries to live and find a better life in the United States. These adolescents are the Latino Youth Leadership Council of the Washington DC-based Latin American Youth Center, founded in 1968.”
The other day I arrived home to find waiting in the mailbox a weighty, Voces Sin Fronteras: Our Stories Our Truth. It proved not only weighty to the hand, but once I began peeling its pages back, weighty to the soul.