As we look towards the 2020 election, its aftermath, and the future of our fragile democracy, the Rail is announcing We The Immigrants – an urgent project aimed at elevating the prevalence of immigration, and the significant contributions immigrants make in communities across America and to the cultural fabric of society.
Immigration is a founding principle of an open society; from an American perspective, we feel strongly that we must resist conformity and homogeneity. Rather than singing in union, we aspire to a multiplicity of generations, genders, cultural backgrounds, and abilities – in which each individual is an utterly unique contribution to the total sound of a beautiful symphony. In this sense, immigration is much more than a matter of naturalization, citizenship, and territory.
We The Immigrants is a special project that will play out on the Rail’s website and across social media as timely documentation inspired by the grid, an inherently democratic form (mirrored in our New Social Environment conversation series on zoom, which is also a grid that humanizes the diverse participants of our forum that we’ve been organizing daily since March 17, 2020).
In this democratic spirit, we are deploying each letter of the alphabet from A to Z and representing creative individuals from the communities of the sciences, arts, and humanities past and present by their image, full name, date of birth, and place of origin. With permission, we encourage our friends and colleagues to add more individuals to our project and to print them out and wheat paste them in public – especially those with access to printing facilities at universities and colleges across the country – on the countless storefronts that have been closed and boarded up during the pandemic as a symphony of faces in a grid formation.
We feel that We The Immigrants, as an ongoing project, has the potential to raise awareness, create dialogue, and above all provide common ground that immigration policy is a quintessential part of American identity.
In solidarity, with love and courage,
Phong & the Rail 🌈 ❤️