By Anais Holgado Lage
On November 24th, Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli participated as a guest speaker in the course SPA107, coordinated by Anais Holgado Lage and co-taught by Jeannie Byrne, Iris Hauser, Perla Masi, Miguel Domínguez, Yangyou Fang and Robert Myak. More than 100 students attended the event.
Valeria Luiselli is the author, among other books, of Tell me How it Ends: An essay in forty questions. This work narrates her experiences as a volunteer at the courthouse in New York City, interpreting for undocumented minors that had crossed the border unaccompanied. The role of the interpreter was to write the story of them, through a questionnaire of 40 questions, so that lawyers could build a case to protect them from deportation. The book can be read online through the Princeton library.
After a brief introduction, Valeria answered questions from the students for about an hour to discuss topics like the origin of the current violent scene in Central America, the personal toll that this job had on her, the role of the media when sharing these migration stories (for instance, the terminology used and the limitations that it brings), the changes in the migration policies with the last two administrations, and some ideas and suggestions for the students that want to get involved. The students enjoyed the event thoroughly.