Family Ties

As we continue to edit and piece together our film, major themes are rising to the surface, particularly the meaning of family in regards to immigration. This theme holds a lot of meaning to me not only in the film but in my personal experience in Nogales as well.

A woman we interviewed, Daniela, is the daughter of migrants and is a nursing student in graduate school at the University of San Francisco. Daniela spent several days with us and it was a joy to get to know her and understand her personal narrative in the complexity of this issue. Somehow a connection was made that Daniela knew my aunt, a fellow nurse who spoke at a bioethics conference in California and Daniela met her and spoke with her. I was astounded at how small our world is, what are the odds we ended up on this trip together with this personal connection to someone who I hold so dear to my heart and someone who Daniela knew and respected?

I was fortunate enough to be able to interview Daniela on camera, and it was easily one of the hardest parts of the entire trip for me. Daniela is so passionate about her family, migration, nursing, volunteering, and giving back to a community that has touched her life so personally. There was not a dry eye in the room and it was difficult to even fathom the struggles Daniela’s family has gone through to get to this point in their lives.

Daniela reflected on the meaning behind the sacrifices her family had made to see her succeed and how proud they are of her. It was impossible for me not to think of my aunt, this common bond Daniela and I shared, and how meaningful her presence in my life has been. She is one of the strongest, most compassionate people I know and love, and I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it.

Daniela’s story was touching in so many ways and I am genuinely grateful to have been able to hear her story and convey that to a larger audience. Her story is just one narrative amongst many migrants,  each unique, significant, and raw in their own way.

Group picture of Backpack journalism crew and Daniela Vargas
The Backpack Journalism team with Daniela before she journeys back to California.

One thought on “Family Ties

  1. Maren, connections like these just remind me of the Jesuit community and how wide-ranging it is, and even the human community and connections we can find. I hope you shared this with your family. Such a lovely post. Your composure during Daniela’s interview was remarkable. I spent the time in my corner sniffling.

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