Irina Lee (MFA 2010 Design) has turned her SVA thesis project First Person American into a thriving initiative that is encouraging immigrants to share their experiences of coming to the U.S. Since winning a Sappi Ideas That Matter Grant in 2010, First Person American has teamed up with Active Voice and Shelbyville Multimedia to present Welcoming Stories, a series of five pilot episodes featuring immigrants telling their tales about the people who helped them settle in when they first arrived in America.
“Welcoming Stories is a way to spark public interest and engage the community in something that is traditionally taken for granted,” says Lee. “I want people to walk in the storytellers’ shoes, and experience a small epiphany about how one individual can make a huge difference in another’s life. These pilot episodes are especially important in a city like New York, where so much of its energy is fueled by cultural diversity and immigrant communities.”
But Welcoming Stories doesn’t end there. After watching the series online, viewers are invited to submit their own videos, photos and written stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. Approved videos will then be shared on the Welcoming Stories blog.
Watch one of the pilot episodes below. To view all of them, visit Welcoming Stories.