Juan: My American Dream

This is my American Dream, for me and for all the Hispanics who are here. You dream about going to the US and you think: “Oh, I will earn dollars and return to Guatemala and buy a nice car, a nice house, buy cows, etc.” So this picture of me sleeping and dreaming about my American Dream of coming here to the US to earn dollars and baskets of money and go back and be rich. And then you get here and it’s not like that. Where is the money? Where are all the riches? Where do you pick up the money? It’s all lies. The American Dream that everyone is talking
about is not like that.

Juan: It's For Others Too

Demonstrators with Casa Latina sign

This march was on Martin Luther King day. There have been other marches that I have participated in. And I like to be active, to let it be known who I am. I also participated in the march in 2006, and last year, when I was detained in the immigration detention center in Tacoma, I participated in the hunger strike. I share what some of the leaders here at Casa Latina say: “we have to be part of the battle for the rights of Hispanics.” It’s not just about me. It’s for the others too. Maybe I won’t get what I want individually.

Juan: You Become Their Enemy


I was caught by the police. I had not committed any crime but the police was looking for somebody else and maybe I resembled the person they were looking for. I don’t have any problem with the police. They held me for 3 or 4 days and they turned me over to the immigration detention center in Tacoma. I was there for 6 months in detention. They asked me if I was afraid to go back to my country. I said yes, and so they did not deport me. Because the truth is I cannot go back to my country. I worked close to the government in my country and that’s the way they are.

Juan: A Great City

outside of King Street Station at night

Seattle is a great city. There’s a lot of money here. This is where you get paid best. I have worked in Phoenix and in California, where they pay you $5 or $6 per hour, depending on the employer and the job. But here in Seattle, doing landscaping and yard work, I can make $18 to $20 an hour. The only problem is I don’t have many employers just now because I left and I came back and I am starting again here in Seattle.

Juan: I Tell Them The Good Things

Juan taking a picture in a mirror

I call my mother… I don’t tell her the bad things that happened to me. I just tell them the good things. I buy prepaid cards at the Azteca store on Jackson to call long distance. I call her 4 or 5 times a week. I don’t really know how to use the computer or the cell phone. I can just talk and I like to hear their voice and talk to my family. I really miss my family. The cell phone I have is not a very fancy one. I can take pictures but I can’t send them to my family in Guatemala. I can send them to my nephew in New York and he then sends them to my family.

Juan: One Single America

Indigenous Person

I feel like an indigenous person. I am an Indian in Canada, US, Mexico, Central America, and all South America - it is all the same continent. It is true I am from Guatemala and I am here in the US. But I am still in America. One single America. It is one same continent.

Juan: The Spanish Came To The Americas In Boats Like This

The Mayflower

This is the Mayflower. I took this picture because it made me remember that the Spanish came to the Americas in boats like this. The Spanish came and fought against the Guatemalan hero, Tecun Uman.

Éste es el Mayflower. Tomé esta foto porque me hizo recordar que los españoles vinieron a las Américas en barcos como éste. Los españoles vinieron y pelearon contra el héroe guatemalteco, Tecún Uman.

Juan: Will I Go Fight In A War?


That is a soldier. He is dressed in his uniform and he represents the training he has received. It makes me think of my training I received when I was in Guatemala. I feel that I was well-trained in my country. I could join the army here if they told me to go. I hear how the US army is fighting in Iraq and Iran and I ask myself, will I go and fight in that war?

Juan: Father Of The Nation

George Washington

I took this picture because I’ve been in the US for years and I would be embarrassed if I did not know who was the first president of the US. I feel this is my home, and I feel like I’m from Guatemala, but this is my home too. He is the father of the nation because he was the first president. And here we are in the state of Washington that honors George Washington.

Juan: Voting

Democrats and Republicans

This is a picture of the two main parties of the US, the Republicans and the Democrats. I was not born in this country but one day I would like to be able to vote. Maybe in 10 years, in 20 years. One day.

Ésta es una foto de los dos partidos políticos principales en los Estados, los Republicanos y los Demócratas. Yo no nací en este país, pero un día me gustaría poder votar. Tal vez en 10 años o en 20. Un día.