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This Is Our Place: a new column on the stories behind the faces.

Ana Garcia (left,) explaining the cultural importance of the song, La Llorona, with a translator who is also a friend, at the first Hispanic Heritage Month Festival in Mexico, MO, on Friday, October 12th, 2018. Ms. Garcia, a DACA recipient, is originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, and organized the festival with the help of a few friends in this small rural town in the central part of Missouri, where she lives.

As the WE project expands, I have realized the need to tell the stories behind some of the people who came up to be portrayed in the series. In seeing each other in our differences we are all stronger, but sometimes portraits and words are not enough as the issues facing people who belong to marginalized communities are deep and complex. So, after the opening of the WE project exhibit in Columbia this weekend, today marks another opening: a monthly column, in words and photographs, on the lives of some of the WE project participants and the issues they face, as well as the lives they live, away from the marches, the protests, the crisis.
Welcome to Our Place.
The first column will be about Ana Garcia, featured above, a Dreamer, or the recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly referred to as the Dream Act, and will be published on November 30th.


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On a frigid Saturday morning in February, Ana, a twenty-six-year-old woman whose family came over from Mexico without immigration documentation when she was eight, is making pancakes for her partner, Victor, and their two-year-old son, Alexander Xavi, whom they call simply Xavi (pronounced SHAW-vee), before Victor goes off to work and Ana runs errands around town, as Xavi hops on a blue tricycle and barrels through the kitchen and living room, which is bare except for the kind of modern-style furniture you’d find at an Ikea store, a wooden coffee table, a light-tone fabric chair and an undersized sofa that sits under a single narrow shelf decorated with family pictures, mostly of Xavi, the only personal touches …