Holly Cooper, Co-director of the UC Davis School of Law Immigration Law Clinic, reached out to TANA about making a poster in support of Davis client, Mr. Kong, who had been arrested by ICE and faced deportation. We connected Holly with talented TANA artist, Elyse Doyle-Martinez, who rose to the challenge. Elyse has been doing phenomenal and important work here at TANA and sharing it with her community. We asked her a few questions to get her insight on the importance of her work.
TANA: Why did you decide to take up this project?
Elyse Doyle-Martinez: The rights of undocumented Americans are in jeopardy, now more than ever. When TANA asked if I would like to contribute art to Mr. Kong’s campaign, I was more than happy to do so. After reading more about his story, and others like his, I knew this was something I needed to stand behind. This is my home, it has been for almost 30 years, and it is for Kong and so many other undocumented people. In my opinion, a piece of paper isn’t what makes us American.
TANA: How did you choose what imagery to use for the poster?
Elyse Doyle-Martinez: The image of Kong and his family was the one that I related to, and thought others would too.. There are immigrants and refugees from all over the world who should feel safe to find sanctuary for themselves and their families in our communities. Especially when our government has contributed to the chaos and violence that made them flee in the first place.
TANA: Are there any other projects you are currently working on:
Elyse Doyle-Martinez: Always. Unfortunately, there is always someone or something that needs advocacy. If I can create imagery that will make people aware, start a dialogue, and inspire change – that’s how I contribute. I was never the person yelling into a megaphone at marches, but art has given me my voice in these movements.
With the support of this cultural work alongside the endeavors of the Immigration Law clinic, Mr. Kong was granted a reprieve from deportation. His reprieve is only temporary for now until a hearing is conducted. You can read more about it here.