CURRENT FELLOWS

 
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CHELSEA Hernandez | BUILDING THE AMERICAN DREAM

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and construction is no exception: a $72 billion industry that accounts for every $20 generated by the Texas economy, employing nearly one million workers. Although deemed the “Texas Miracle,” with a recession-proof economic plan that many U.S. states look to duplicate, a treacherous dark side looms over the industry. Building the American Dream uncovers the story of the virtually invisible undocumented construction workers upon whose backs and hard labor the boom is built. We follow the intimate journey of undocumented immigrants struggling to survive while also striving to organize through a unique organization called Workers Defense Project. Leading the fight is founder Cristina Tzintzún, an uncompromising young female voice in the movement. As workers courageously attempt to fight for stolen incomes and life-saving safety precautions they face an uncertain future as immigration reform is halted by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Building the American Dream is a timely story of economic boom in a climate of anti-immigration rhetoric. This film shines light on the faces of the forgotten – the builders of our schools, our homes, our work and our communities. As our main character’s face rising costs of living, pay stagnation and employers intent on making huge profits at their expense – with little regard for their safety, health or security – we wonder if they’ll ever achieve the American Dream. Can they carve out a stable world? And will the improvements they seek for construction workers begin to take root?

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