Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA) is a non-profit community-based educational organization whose mission is create a more humane and democratic society by responding to issues that affect low-income immigrant families concerned with solving problems in their own communities. Since 1984, our commitment to worker, immigrant, non-immigrant, and youth rights has been present through educational programs based on Popular Education methodology.
As a 24 year-old immigrant, from Mexico City, I live first hand the struggles that the Los Angeles immigrant community face on a daily basis such as poverty, unequal access to education and the digital divide. Before I went to college those issues were a challenge but thanks to the hard work and determination from my mother and my community I was able to garner enough support to graduate from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Going to college and graduating is a privilege and I have a personal responsibility to share what I've learned in school and apply it in my work in the immigrant community. I am a media maker and I feel passionate about media justice and appropriation of the media by those who have been traditionally marginalized and misrepresented by the mainstream media. Through IDEPSCA I was able to find the link between my personal commitment to social justice, passion for media creation and appropriation. This fuels me to continue learning from low-wage workers and immigrant families to provide change starting with myself.
I am the Mobile Voices (VozMob) Coordinator at IDEPSCA and very proud about working alongside the day labor and household worker community. That is why my commitment is strongly tied to IDEPSCA's Mobile Voices project. The VozMob project allows low-wage immigrant workers to use affordable mobile phones to contribute their voices to some of the most important debates of our times: immigration reform, health care, and the economic crisis, among other topics. These workers are among those most affected by policy decisions, but are too often completely excluded from the debate. IDEPSCA incorporates VozMob as a vehicle to bridge the technological gap that continues to marginalize the immigrant community and to create a space for immigrant workers to share their stories, learn about their rights, and document human rights abuses as well as to highlight their own humanity. For example, IDEPSCA's families participate in various conferences, marches, and actions to raise awareness about discriminatory anti-immigration policies and rhetoric. Through the Mobile Voices platform, supporters have used their cell phones to take photos, audio, and video recordings at these different events, upload them to the Mobile Voices website (vozmob.net), and then spread the word about the mobilization to their friends, family, and communities.
As one of MAG-Net’s newest anchors we will continue amplifying the voices of the low wage immigrant workers appropriating media, creating their own stories, fighting for media justice and social justice together with other media justice organizations around the country. Furthermore, MAG-Net’s leadership to eliminate racism, end poverty and ensure human rights is closely linked to our work to appropriate mobile media and create stories to counter the negative, misrepresentations of immigrant communities of color.
Pedro Joel Espinosa is the Mobile Voices Coordinator and media maker.