Photo booth reveals diversity, supports Dreamers

- An art project supporting the DREAM Act has come to the streets of downtown Tampa.

Organizers with the Inside Out Project set up a photo booth truck at the corner of East Madison and North Franklin Streets on Wednesday. They took pictures of average people to create a portrait of America and its diversity.

The portraits are meant to remind people that behind the political debate about young, undocumented immigrants, or "Dreamers," there are real humans with a dream.

"You could have a friend that this impacts. It could be your colleague that could lose their family or be deported. Just by stopping and seeing [the photos], it really drives home that these people live in your community," said Lizzy Lewis, spokesperson for Emerson Collective, who funded the project inspired by the award-winning photographer JR.

Tampa is one of 35 stops for the photo booth truck that travels city-to-city, taking portraits of residents and hanging displaying them together on large buildings.

"They're huge. [The portraits] are 33"x55", and they're gorgeous," said Lewis.

Some of the people who stopped by to have their pictures taken were Dreamers who will be affected by the decision of lawmakers on whether or not to renew the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.

Most of the portraits were faces of local supporters, like Ana Lamb, who came to the U.S. from Mexico at 19 years old.

"I identify with them because when I came to this country I had to learn a lot of things. These kids didn't have the choice, but they are here. They feel that they are American citizens," said Lamb.

While she is not a Dreamer, Lamb said she helped dozens of Hispanic students from Clearwater travel to Washington, DC this week.

They plan to participate in National Advocacy Day on Thursday. President Donald Trump negotiated with top Democrats for enhanced border security in exchange for renewing DACA.

"We want to make sure that whatever we put forward is a responsible immigration reform and it's not one piece of this process dealt with separately," said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders during a press briefing. "We need to make sure that we're addressing all of the problems, so we're not dealing with this again in two, four, five, six years."

Among the dozens of people who stopped by to have their pictures taken Wednesday was Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

"We're a city of immigrants and we are built by immigrants. The foundation upon which I stand as the mayor were immigrant families who came here," said Mayor Buckhorn. "These are young kids who didn't come here by choice. They came here because their families came here. They deserve the same opportunities to compete in this country, to grow in this country and to succeed in this country as my two kids."

According to project organizers, there are 2,100 DACA-eligible people living in Tampa.

The portraits will be on display in downtown Tampa for about two weeks, depending on the weather. For more on the Inside Out Project, visit http://www.insideoutproject.net/en.
 

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