By: Consulate General of Mexico
Patria Migrante is a series of audio-visual testimonies in which members of the Mexican community in Illinois reflect on what it means to be a migrant. The aim of the project is to highlight the phenomenon of migration and generate conversations, from the point of view of migrants themselves, on cultural diversity and its contribution to the cities in which migrant populations live.
These conversations take place in front of the Wings of Mexico in Chicago, a sculpture by the artist, Jorge Marin. It was brought to the Plaza of the Americas in 2022 by the Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago with two motives: first, to represent the millions of people of Mexican origin who live in the area, and second, to acknowledge the city of Chicago as a sanctuary city that receives and respects migrant people.
Some of the participants in the project who were willing to be interviewed include: Samuel Sánchez Mendoza, CEO of Third Coast Hospitality and Chairman of the Board of the Illinois Restaurant Association (); Javier Arturo Reyes Altamirano, Chancellor of the University of Illinois Chicago; Juana Santiago and Araceli Antonio, promoters of Oaxacan culture; Maria De La Luz Márquez Antonio, promoter of Purpecha culture; Ana Casanueva, Director of Legal at Byline Bank; Erika Espinosa Cruz, owner of Colores Mexicanos; Juan Diego Rojas, Mexican American singer-songwriter; Maya Piña, writer and director of El BeiSMan; Jesus “Chuy” García; congressman for the 4th district of Illinois.
Within the framework of Patria Migrante, the Wings of Mexico is an instrument that inspires conversations about human mobility, empathy, and solidarity, regardless of origin or destiny. It also enables the protagonists of migration to share the stories of their journeys and their reflections on the human ideal of freedom and movement. In the words of Jorge Marin, “migration is an issue that we cannot leave to one side, it touches us all, our human part, because empathy with our peers is basic in order to live in a better world”.
In Chicago, a city that shelters one of the largest Mexican communities in the United States, Patria Migrante offers an open channel that provides a voice to this community, and, through understanding and empathy, strengthens the relationship between the two countries. The Plaza of the Americas, where the work has been installed, is an emblematic location. It has come to symbolize unity and understanding between the various cultures that comprise our region, crossing borders and prioritizing dialogue and respect for diversity. Chicago provides a stage for conversations between cultures, a vital space where the richness of cultural heritage can promote a society that seeks prosperity and plurality.
The Patria Migrante project began in 2018 in the United States in the cities of Santa Ana, California and San Antonio, Texas, and subsequently crossed the border to Québec, Canada.