I was beyond dismayed when I heard Donald Trump state that Mexicans, like me, were “rapists” adding that although he supposed “some were good people,” the clear majority, according to him, were “thieves” and a danger to the United States. Since the time he uttered those words I have heard that he “didn’t really mean you,” or that Donald Trump has “to say what will get him elected” and that he really doesn’t mean it. It doesn’t matter to me because the result is that his words are unacceptable to me. As I digested his diatribe against my compatriots, I went through the cycle of anger to disgust to resolving to ensure that his hateful diatribe does not remain unchallenged.
Like I wrote in yesterday’s piece, although I had never experienced racism, I have been, nonetheless, the victim of discrimination based on my national origin. The fear of Mexicans in the US has been the undercurrent for hundreds of years, likely from the time the United States was formed as a country. Although many mistake it as racism, I believe that it has more to do with the fear of the changing culture and language of the United States. It is the reaction to the changing cultural face of the country. Although it has existed as niche movements limited to like-minded groups of people and online on “alt-right”-type of sites – it was Donald Trump that made it acceptable in mainstream America to demonize immigrants.
As I went about digesting Donald Trump’s attack on immigrants in its many forms, I soon realized that all Donald Trump was stating is what some believe about immigrants. He has given a voice to those afraid of the cultural changes in America. What has made the fearmongering so pervasive is that there is no counter to the dehumanizing of immigrants that Donald Trump has given a voice to. When my anger turned to resolving to create a counter to the hatred he spewed, I started creating illustrations and other multimedia projects attempting to give a voice to those being attacked by Trump’s rhetoric.
As I developed images and people on social media started seeing my counter expressive graphics, I started to receive requests for permission to use them or for copies of some of them. This led me to selling t-shirts and mugs with my immigrant images. From there arose my BorderBandit Studio.
However, I had resolved to counter Donald Trump’s immigrant bashing and thus I embarked on creating a lifestyle brand of t-shirts, other apparel and other goods. After much thought and experimentation, I realized that the best way to counter the hateful rhetoric was to simply point out that immigrants are an essential part of what makes the United States the country that it is today. Simply, we immigrants are here in every aspect of the American experience.
Immigrants Make America Great (IMAGe)
Yes, immigrants make America great, and it is the basis of the set of t-shirts that I am launching today. The Immigrants Make America Great (IMAGe) brand is a life-style brand celebrating the immigrants in America and in other parts of the world. To move away from the hatred of immigrant bashing, I decided that my brand needed to be inclusive. It was not enough to point out how immigrants make America great. I needed to demonstrate that immigrants are part of the fabric of the United States.
Instead of immigrants make America great by doing something extraordinary, I decided that it was best to show that immigrants make America WITH you. As the 2016 presidential election is only a few days away I decided that the best way to launch my brand was by using the very thing that gave it life – the upcoming elections.
Today I am announcing the launch of the Immigrants Make America Great brand by making available a limited edition of the first t-shirt for the brand; the immigrants VOTE with you!
This is a limited edition t-shirt that will be retired at the end of November never to be sold again.
Don’t despair though, the 2016 edition of the Immigrants Make America Great brand is composed of 34 unique images and, I believe, interesting pieces celebrating the immigrants in our midst.
I am already hard at work creating the 2017 edition.
All the graphics are created by me personally, an immigrant living in the United States. The fulfillment of the t-shirts are produced and shipped by a US-based company created by a Canadian immigrant. The t-shirts themselves are 100% made in the United States. Unlike, Donald Trump, who has his apparel made in China and Mexico, my product is 100% made in America by immigrant hands. The perfect fusion of immigrants in America.
Starting today, I will be adding the 2016 edition to my online store. You can order the special edition t-shirt by visiting my store at this link. You can go directly to the store to buy any of the 2016 edition by going to this link.
Please feel free to share my online store on social media using the hashtag: #immigrantsmakeamericagreat or #image