A talented 15-year-old Latina who, as an undocumented homeless immigrant, fiercely pursues her dream of becoming an artist.



2 thoughts on “Inocente

  1. ZC

    Wow. I’m in awe of Inocente’s clear dedication, passion, and perseverance. It’s hard to respond to her openness and honesty in sharing her experiences because of the amount that this woman has gone through. Nevertheless, anti-racist organising is making me think about things in so many new ways. I have four things that I noticed/that seem really important to me:
    1. Language is something that I pay a lot of attention to after reading June Jordan’s piece about Black English. Something that really struck me in the things Inocente’s mother, Carmela, talked about were her images of the U.S. as a place without dirt and as a paradise. The first word she said in English after talking about this dream-like view of the U.S. was the word “homeless.” She says, “Ser homeless, todo es dificil,” being homeless everything is difficult. It seems to me so important that she can describe all of these idealistic visions of the U.S. and of having a house for her children in Spanish, yet when she begins talking about the realities of immigrating she uses the english word “homeless.” I tried to find the word homeless in Spanish, but I could only find expressions. This makes me wonder, how does U.S. imperialism and racist capitalism construct the idea of homelessness? The American Dream is so pervasive as a global fantasy, but it’s reality of homelessness and poverty isn’t even describable in Spanish. I think there’s a lot more to say here, but this was just something I was thinking about.
    2. Another thing that I keep wanting to explore, especially because I’m also in Queering Utopia as well, is the role of art in political struggles and in the survival of oppressed people. Inocente talks about perceptions that she’d paint dark colors, but she says that she likes to use bright colors because that’s what makes her happy. I think there is something innately political about that, and also something utopian about her landscapes and dreamlands and creatures. The way she paints isn’t about being hung up in a gallery (even though that’s a huge moment for her), it’s about the joy and escape that she gets from the colors and art as something that is liberatory for the oppressive systems that are influencing her life.
    3. As a white person, I think it’s my job to look at what the other white people are doing and to be critical of how we are playing into white supremacy. Something that makes me really sad about this film is the way that the white people interact with Inocente and Carmela. I know that intentions can be vastly different than impact, and I think that the kind of charity work that the white organizers for the art program are doing is complexly problematic. I know that they have been able to give huge opportunities to Inocente, but the way they intervene in Inocente’s family is, I believe, reinforcing racist stereotypes and perpetuating institutional forms of racism. They do not look at the root of the familly’s problems–poverty. the immigration system, etc. Rather, they paint a picture that Inocente’s mother is not a good enough mother, that she cannot provide for her daughter, and that her depression stems from a character flaw. I believe that the reality of the situation is the dehumanizing force of oppression and poverty. I think, if we white folks can have an analysis of this, our work can make more impact.
    4. It is heartbreaking to think about the meaning of Inocente’s name–Innocent. I think this is also something so important–that children are being born into systems of white supremacy, xenophobia, patriarchy, etc. innocent, yet they are subject to horrible emotional and physical abuse because of the way our world is constructed. It is a reminder for me that anti-racist organizing is about the next generations and all those born innocently.

  2. Charlii Smith

    This is really an inspirational documentary. Inocente has such hope and a positive outlook on life. This is a perfect example of how the world is completely oblivious of other people backgrounds. Also it really made me think back into my life and how I have taken so many opportunities and events in my life for granted. The most touching moment in this film is Inocente’s persistence on dreaming. I agree with her that if we did not have the option to dream then our life would be dark and gloomy.


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