Wendy Thompson-Marquez, a Peruvian who for eight years worked as an undocumented nanny, on Thursday in Washington presented her documentary "Harvest of Empire," which shows the human side of the crisis of undocumented immigrants in the United States.
In an interview with Efe, Thompson-Marquez said the film seeks to provide the "historical context" for the Latino presence in the United States and to contribute to the debate on immigration reform.
"Harvest of Empire: The Untold Story of Latinos in America" is based on a book by New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez.
"We were seeing on television and on the radio a negative and stereotyped image of the Latino community, and we decided to make this documentary," said Thompson-Marquez about the film, directed by Eduardo Lopez.
The 46-year-old producer said she hopes her film "helps mobilize people who already support reform, (and gets) people to understand the impact of foreign policy on the immigration phenomenon and for the public to have a historical view of the positive contributions of Latinos."
The documentary emphasizes that 350,000 Mexican and Puerto Rican soldiers served with the U.S. military in World War II.
Thompson-Marquez wants young Latinos to know about "the heroes who are our parents."
"Many parents do not want to talk about what they've had to go through or have suffered to get here, out of shame or because they don't want to tell about those terrible experiences. But many young people who have seen the documentary come out with tears (in their eyes) and are grateful to listen to those stories," she said.
Thompson-Marquez worked for eight years as an undocumented nanny while her permanent residence authorization was being processed, the earned a university degree in 1995 and got a job selling advertisements for a local affiliate of Telemundo in Arlington, Virginia.
She went on to become vice president of ZGS Broadcast Holdings, where she supervised the daily operations and ad sales of 11 Telemundo network affiliates, before founding the Onyx Media Group and EVS Communications, Inc.
"Now that I'm a citizen, I haven't taken that citizenship in vain because I can vote and I have the opportunity to speak for people who have no voice for the moment," she said.