Elite Daily: “‘OITNB’ Star Laura Gómez Tells Real-Life Immigrants’ Stories On-Screen & Off"

by Joseph McKeown

At the end of season 6 of the hit show Orange Is the New Black, Laura Gómez’s character, Bianca Flores, was transferred from Litchfield Penitentiary to an Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center, and in season 7, the show dealt with her experience in detention. "I felt, in a way, it was an interesting way of working around my anxieties at the moment," Gómez, herself an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, said to Elite Daily. “This is affecting us one way or another. I thought it was a wonderful way for me to canonize all this and to find a place to put it. And we all knew we had a big responsibility.”

Inspired in part by her work on Orange is the New Black, Gómez wanted to highlight the experiences and accomplishments of real-life immigrants. Under the hashtag #ImmigrantStoriesByLauraGomez, Gómez has profiled actors, LGBTQ activists, novelists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and young students. "I just had a feeling that this was a way to use my platform, which has been amplified by this show to comment on positive aspects of immigrants, the way I know it, the way I experience it," Gómez said. "I felt this could be my way of humanizing us and giving a little profile of a journey of an immigrant and a positive impact in American society."

Machine Hallucination

by Joseph McKeown

Machine Hallucination is a stunning large-scale immersive digital installation in a former boiler room at Chelsea Market in Manhattan. The installation, by Turkish-born media artist and director Refik Anadol, uses Barco-powered, 16K resolution, 150 megapixel, laser projection technology to display images created from machine learning algorithms on a dataset of over 300 million images of New York City architecture. The result feels like you are deep inside a computer’s initially disorienting but very beautiful and hallucinatory dream about the architectural creation of New York City. Although the staff hands out cushions for visitors to sit on the floor, we found a place on a bench, where we were mesmerized by the exploding colors, movement, and accompanying soundtrack. Anadol, a leader in the aesthetics of machine intelligence, says: “By employing machine intelligence to help narrate the hybrid relationship between architecture and our perception of time and space, Machine Hallucination offers the audience a glimpse into the future of architecture itself.” The experience is absolutely thrilling and we haven’t been this excited about a digital exhibit in a long time. Highly recommended!       

Washington Post: “Japan is a Trumpian paradise of low immigration rates. It’s also a dying country.”

by Joseph McKeown

Japan is facing a population crisis, writes political commenter Francisco Toro, and is a stark example of what happens when a country heavily reduces or limits immigration. The country has an aging population where native-born people’s death rates outnumber births, a shortage of new workers along with slow economic growth, and approximately eight million vacant houses.

Although the country’s politicians have historically opposed higher rates of immigration, the government has recently made more work permits available to foreign workers. Even so, the government forces most temporary foreign workers to frequently apply for extensions, prevents many from bringing their families, and in general has limited efforts to welcome and integrate them into society. “Japan proves that the choice between homogeneity and diversity is real,” Toro writes. “It’s just that homogeneity leads to decline, while diversity offers at least a chance of ongoing vitality and prosperity.”

Serena at the US Open 2019

by Protima Daryanani

I made it out to Flushing Meadows this week to see the incredible Serena Williams as she fights for her 24th Grand Slam singles title, which would tie Margaret Court’s record. In this quarterfinals match, her 100th US Open match win, Serena defeated Qiang Wang 6-1, 6-0. “It feels good,” Williams told ESPN after the match. “It feels like, ‘OK, this is what I’ve been training for.” Asked if she is upping the intimidation factor this year for her opponents, she said in the press conference afterwards: "I’ve always been the person that goes out there and roars, and screams, and complains, and cries, and fights. I’m extremely passionate about what I do." She’s also extremely too fast for my camera. Go Serena!

The Washington Post: “Yogurt Billionaire’s Solution to World Refugee Crisis: Hire Them”

by Joseph McKeown

Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkish immigrant who founded Chobani, the best-selling yogurt brand in the United States, argues that the best way to help refugees is to provide them employment. “The number one thing is hiring, a job,” he said in an interview in Bogota, where he met with business leaders and migrants to discuss the humanitarian and economic crisis in Venezuela that has led to millions of refugees fleeing their home country. “For a refugee, it’s day and night. That’s the point at which they find their life can continue.”

The UN Refugee Agency estimates that the total number of forcibly displaced individuals, including refugees and other migrants, has risen nearly seventy percent over the past ten years to approximately 71 million. Ulukaya, whose net worth is estimated at $1.34 billion, employs refugees at his US plants and has pledged a large portion of his fortune to the charity he founded, Tent Partnership for Refugees. He encourages other business leaders to help solve the global refugee crisis. “It’s good for the companies to be a part of this,” he said in the Washington Post. “Because people five years or 10 years from now are going to question ‘What did you do about this? Why were you not part of this?’”

Cato Institute: “An Explanation of the Public Charge Rule.”

by Georgina Escobar

Last week, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finalized a regulation that bans so-called “public charges” from obtaining legal status in the United States. The finalized public charge rule, the Cato Institute argues, redefines the “historic meaning” of the term “public charge,” which will likely result in the denial of immigrant and nonimmigrant applications based on “a bureaucrat’s suspicions that they could use welfare.”

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