Charlotte, North Carolina – Hispanic children and teens in North Carolina with parents or relatives in the process of deportation are creating "magic kites" with bits of their dear ones' clothing to tell their stories.
"Flying" on the walls of the Levine Museum of the New South are 13 kites that express the kind of drama that thousands of Latino households are going through.
As a Mexican immigrant and mother, artist Rosalia Torres-Weiner told Efe on Friday that she started the project because she believes it essential to document and let the world know what is happening to immigrant families.
She got the young participants together at a Catholic church in Charlotte, where they used painting, drawing and collage to create their works of art.
The choice of kites was partly done "to rescue the Mexican tradition" of flying them, while also representing for these repressed children the "setting of their imaginations and feelings free to fly," the artist said.
The children also wrote brief stories about why those deportees were so important in their lives and what happened to them.
"We have to tell what's happening with the deportations that occur daily here in Charlotte and other cities around the country. I do it with art. We must raise awareness in people about this social problem," Torres-Weiner said.
The latest figures from Immigration and Customs Enforcement indicate that an average of 33,299 immigrants are deported every month, and for each of them, 3.5 people are affected.
One of them is Emmanuel Hernández, 7, separated in January from his father, who left Charlotte voluntarily after fighting against deportation for two years.
The boy drew a picture of his mother crying and wrote on his kite that he wanted to use "Superman's cape to fly away" and find his father because he missed all the times they played soccer together.
His mother, Raquel Barajas, told Efe that, because of the family breaking up, Emmanuel became more rebellious and his grades have suffered.
"But when he was making his kite, he was happy. I think that expressing his thoughts and feelings about what happened served as a kind of therapy. Now we have a better relationship, he's more affectionate with me," Barajas said.