Andre Robert Lee’s documentary, The Prep School Negro, about the experience of black students at an elite Philadelphia prep school, begins in the West Elm neighborhood of Philadelphia, which he refers to as not the most dangerous neighborhood but still not the safest.
“Everyone says I got a Golden Ticket,” says Lee, narrating the introduction. When he was nine, his father left the family, leaving his mother to raise both him and his sister; his intelligence and penchant for talking and reading rather than fighting or playing sports marked him as different from a young age. Though he would come to receive a free tuition at Germantown Friends, he says, ”there was still a great cost. As soon as I set foot in [Germantown Friends] I started to go in a different direction from my family.”
Tania Chairez and Jessica Hyejin Lee, both of whom publicly identified themselves as undocumented college students, were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and obstruction of highways after they sat in the middle of the street in front of the local Immigrations and Custom Enforcement offices.
The two women were taking part in a protest on behalf of another undocumented immigrant, Miguel Orellana García. García has been in prison since last July.
According to PhillyBurbs, a community newspaper in the Philadelphia area, García, had been granted temporary protected resident status after moving to the U.S. from El Salvador with his family as a child. But he was unaware his protection had been revoked following an underage DUI charge and a pair of marijuana possession arrests. Dave Bennion, García’s lawyer, told the newspaper last year a notice for immigration proceedings against him weren’t sent until 2010, three years after his last drug-related arrest, to an old address. DreamActivist Pennsylvania is circulating an online petition calling for García’s release.
Prior to their arrest, both Lee and Chairez recorded short videos talking about their decision to self-identify as undocumented immigrants. Both videos are under the cut. Continue reading →
Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World