At the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Longmont, Hugo Juarez recalls how “Do You Know Who I Am?” came to be.
“It was a really long process of weeks and weeks of just writing our lives in a notebook the way that it was. We picked certain parts of our lives that we wanted to put into our monologues,” said Oscar Juarez one of the performers.
MOTUS Theatre Company director Kirsten Wilson wanted to work with dreamers. Together, Wilson and the dreamers scripted a performance that allowed five voices to share their personal stories on immigration with the community.
“It just brings back so many memories of your childhood and what you went through. It was really painful but it made us closer,” said Juarez.
The Juarez brothers moved to Colorado from Arizona in 2010. An attempt to flee law SV 1070, which made it a misdemeanor for undocumented immigrants to be in Arizona without papers. Coming to Colorado, Hugo says they soon found his family was running towards more of the same.
“We decided not to run. We decided to take action and to show the community that we’re here. We’re just as part of the community as everyone else.”
The entire cast of “Do You Know Who I Am” spent two years touring the Front Range, performing monologues of their struggles. The topics the Juarez brothers, along with Ana Cristina Temu and Victor Galvan cover are personal. They project the struggles their families, like many other Hispanic families in Colorado endure. Hugo calls these struggles “road blocks.”
“There is a broken immigration system and it needs to be fixed. That’s what we do with these stories, to help us make that change,” said Hugo Juarez.
On Monday, the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive actions on immigration are constitutional. Lawyers from all sides gave insight into the five million people who stand to be protected from deportation under DAPA–Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and DACA–Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
“We’re always walking on thin ice because at any given moment, if the next president that comes along decides, you know this program, let’s take it out. Now you have millions of students and dreamers like ourselves that are that are going to be without that program,” said Oscar Juarez.
Divided down the middle, the Supreme Court isn’t likely to reach a verdict until late June. But the cast of “Do You Know Who I Am?” is following the court case closely. Although their tour and time together is nearing an end, not all of their problems are solved. With DACA, dreamers have to go through an extensive renewal process.
Hugo says that avoiding deportation requires background check every two years.“DACA is just deferring my deportation. You know you haven’t done anything and you’re a member of the community–you go to school, you go to work. Going through that process, it feels like I’m being treated as a criminal,” said Juarez.
Juan says that although he and his brothers have seen success, he has a pretty good understanding of what determines the undocumented life. “Having that life of doing the job that some people don’t want to do, that’s the undocumented life. Having trouble going to school. Paying for out of state tuition. That’s the undocumented life,” said Juarez.
“When you’re here undocumented, you’re not treated like a person. You don’t count to society. They don’t treat you as any human would be in the U.S. You don’t feel like a human. And that’s what it is to be undocumented. Undocumented is dehumanized,” said Oscar Juarez.
The Juarez brothers explain that not all immigrants are having the same experience. This is what “Do You Know Who I Am?” is all about. Debunking stereotypes and giving a face to a struggle that affects millions of Americans personally.
“I want people to come see the play. Seeing what a lot of the media says, in compared to reality it’s total different and that’s what you’ll see in the play,” said Oscar Juarez.
The cast will perform its last show twice, in both Spanish and English. The Spanish language version April 22nd at 6pm with the English language version the following day, April 23rd at 7pm.