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Photos Capturing Our Struggle Win Pulitzer Prize

Pulitzer
Photo Credit: Reuters

The 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners for journalism were announced this week and among them was the well-deserved recognition of the Photography Staff at Reuters for “a vivid and startling visual narrative of the urgency, desperation and sadness of migrants as they journeyed to the U.S. from Central and South America.”

We keep finding ourselves in this strange place as a community. Needing to address what ails us while fighting to not be exploited in the process. The mechanism of the 24-hour news cycle makes this incredibly difficult. As Central American Journalist, Daniel Alvarenga, points out:

“The woman [in the picture] is carrying two children, she’s not wearing shoes and you do get to see how messed up what’s happening to them is,” he said. He also recognized that, oftentimes,  “A lot of people don’t care about the story until they see stuff like that.” Those human qualities—the determination, humor, the resilience, among others are often missing in stories with prevailing themes of war and trauma.

Daniel Alvarenga
Excerpt from interview with Columbia Journalism Review
Photo Credit: Reuters

The barrage of anti-immigrant rhetoric that is prolific via the media during the Trump-era upholds the feeling that people will continue to not care about the plight of Central Americans unless the images of violence stay in their timelines. For the community who’s pain is on constant display it can have mixed outcomes. Often, the co-opting of their story can lead to confusion. Particularly, in how the caravans were legally defined and what consequences that can have when they reach the south US-border.

In recent weeks, the Trump administration has continued to build on that type of misleading information, as well as the public’s lack of awareness of all the ways the US creates instability in the northern triangle. Trump has even gone as far as contradicting his staff and threatening the mayors of major American cities with the prospect of busing undocumented migrants and asylum seekers then “dumping them” in those locales as a form of retaliation against their “sanctuary city policies.”

With #Decision2020 around the corner, the US electorate will begin to see town halls and debates with politicians addressing the issue of immigration. They will begin positioning themselves somewhere on the spectrum between open-borders and build the wall in hopes to satisfy the voting bloc they most aspire to reach. As journalists continue to cover this very challenging topic, we can only hope that the humanity of it all is never lost.

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