Maxie Gluckman

Artist Statement

Scholars have called attention to the complex implications of migration on children’s well-being, identity (Panting, 2016), and academic aspirations and success (e.g. Abrego, 2014). Migration and education scholarship, however, has continued to prioritize adult-centric perspectives, depicting children as “baggage” rather than actors and agents in their own right (Orellana et al., 2001). As a result, children’s voices have often been silenced and marginalized in research (Pain, 2004; Yeoh & Lam, 2006). Children’s voices afford opportunities to reveal new and valuable perspectives on human nature and migration (Yarwood & Tyrrell, 2012) and support the production of more relevant and responsive research and pedagogies (Vecchio et al., 2017). Given the increasing numbers of minors in-transit within the Central America-U.S. nexus and their growing presence in schools, migrant shelters, and other spaces, the relative absence of children’s voices in existing research is an issue of global importance (Heidbrink, 2020).

In response, my research asked: How do Honduran children learn and develop as they undergo diverse migratory trajectories within Mexico? Through a participatory social-justice research design (Creswell & Clark, 2018), I engaged 17 Honduran children ages 5-15 from nine families located in shelters and homes in Monterrey, Nuevo León in the co-creation of knowledge regarding their migratory trajectories. Over five months, I employed a toolkit of qualitative participatory storytelling methods, such as student-generated drawings, timelines, and dramatization (ex. Barros Nock & Ibarra Templos, 2018; Schmidt, 2017), during weekly virtual ‘art club’ sessions.

This work aims to shine a light on the often-hidden journeys of Honduran migrant children in-transit, positing that a greater understanding of these experiences may drive actions directed at meeting im/migrant students’ current and future needs within and outside of educational contexts. As such below you will see excerpts of these interactions and products created through the research process directly from the children’s voices without researcher interpretation and analysis. I invite you to view this pieces and reflect on how children made sense of their experiences, developed rich knowledge while in-transit, and enacted agency throughout these experiences.

With my deepest gratitude to each and every child and their families for opening up to me and providing us with a glimpse into your world.

Isabel (age 6) Sets up Shop

Maxie: Are you selling clothes that don’t fit you or old clothes to buy the tick-tock outfit?/¿Estás vendiendo ropa que no te queda o ropa vieja para comprar traje tik-tok, ¿cómo es?

Isabel: It’s so they will by me the tick-tock outfit./Es para que me compre la ropa del tik-tok.

Maxie: And how much are you selling it for?/¿Y a cuánto la estás vendiendo?

Isabel: I am selling it so that I have money, I do not have much so I am going to sell everyday./Lo estoy vendiendo para que tenga dinero, no tengo mucho entonces voy a vender todos los días.

Maxie: Can you show me what you are selling?/¿Puedes mostrarme lo que estás vendiendo?

Isabel: Here I have clothes, I told my dad and my mom that the clothes don’t fit me./Aquí tengo ropa, le dije a mi papá y a mi mamá que si no me queda la ropa.

Maxie: And the toys too?/¿Y los juguetes también?

Isabel: I am also going to sell them./También los voy a vender.

Maxie: How much are you going to sell each thing at?/¿A cuánto se vende cada cosa?

Isabel: Some are…this is 200 [pesos], and this one is 100, and this one 200. And all of the toys. There I have my bear because I am playing with it. The clothes are here, everything is here./Algunos a.… este vale 200, este vale 100 y este 200. Y todos los juguetes. Ahí tengo mi oso porque estoy jugando con ese. Aquí está la ropa, todo está ahí.

Roxana (age 13) Visualizes her Future

Roxana (age 13) Visualizes her Future

Roxana: Yo en un año voy a seguir estudiando. En cinco años voy a estudiar y trabajar al mismo tiempo (por medio tiempo). Y en diez años voy a graduarme de la universidad, entrando a trabajar en el hospital y voy a viajar a Corea del Sur con mi mami que también quiere conocer./ In a year I am going to continue studying. In five years I will study and work at the same time (part time). And in ten years I am going to graduate from university, go to work in the hospital and I am going to travel to South Korea with my mom who also wants to go.

Maxie: Por qué te llama la atención ir a Corea del Sur?/ Why are you interested in going to South Korea?

Roxana: No mentira, porque quiero conocer los paisajes que hay bonitos paisajes. Mi

mami también quiere conocer, por eso la voy a llevar./ No lie, because I want to get to know the beautiful landscapes that there are beautiful. My mom also wants to go, that’s why I’m going to take her.

Maxie:  Tú le vas a pagar el viaje?/ Are you going to pay for the trip?

Roxana: Si./Yes.

Maxie: Vaya, qué generosa. Cómo has aprendido de Corea del Sur?/ Wow, how generous. How have you learned about South Korea?

Roxana: Porque he visto una serie con gente coreana, y así estaba viendo. Siempre me ha gustado eso y me gustaría conocer./ Because I’ve seen a series with Korean people, and that’s how I was watching. I’ve always liked that and would like get to know it.

Maxie: Conoces algo de Corea del Norte?/ Do you know anything about North Korea?

…Roxana: Las cosas en Corea del Sur están prohibidas las cosas del norte./ Things in South Korea are forbidden things from the north.

..Maxie:  Qué tipo de doctora te interesa ser?/ What kind of doctor are you interested in being?

Roxana: Las doctoras que operan./ The doctors who operate.

…Maxie:  Dónde estás en esos dibujos?/ Where are you in those drawings?

Roxana: En Estados Unidos./In the United States.

Maxie:  En alguna parte en particular?/Anywhere in particular?

Roxana: En miami./In Miami

Maxie:  Quién vive allí? Conoces gente?/Who lives there? Do you know people?

Roxana: Sí, mi tía./Yes, my aunt.

Mariana’s Concept of and Care for Family

Mariana’s Concept of and Care for Family

Mariana: Yo le hice un corazón y le puse como una cosita acá arriba, le puse “love”, le puse corazones, abajo, un

corazón en…/ I made a heart and I put it like a little thing up here, I put “love” on it, I put hearts, down below, a

heart in…

Maxie: Y qué representa para ti?/ And what does it represent for you?

Mariana: Para mí esto significa mi familia pues es lo…  Cómo le explico? No se, eso es lo que significa mi familia, mi

corazón, no sé. Eso es lo que es mi familia, es muy grande para mí./ For me this means my family because it is what… How do I explain? I don’t know, that’s what my family means, my heart, I don’t know. That’s what my family is, it’s too big for me.

Maxie: Es una sensación positiva o cómo es la sensación del corazón cuando piensas en ello?/ Is it a positive feeling or how does the heart feel when you think about it?

Mariana: Pues es positivo. A mí me gusta dibujar esos corazones./ Well, it’s positive. I like to draw those hearts.

Maxie: Hay alguien que llevas cercano tu corazón que tal vez no está con ustedes ahí en el cuarto que representa

parte de tu familia?/ There is someone close to your heart who may not be with you there in the room that represents part of your family?

Mariana: Sí, mi mamá, mis hermanos, y aunque está lejos mi familia de allí de Honduras, pero ellos también./ Yes, my mother, my brothers, and although my family is far in Honduras, but also them.

Maxie: Entonces cuando estabas pensando en tu corazón, piensas en esas personas cercanas, pero también los que están lejos o ¿Cómo es?/ So when you were thinking about your heart, you think about those close people, but also those who they are far or how is it?

Mariana: Sí, pienso en todos./ Yes, I think of everyone.

Elson (age 9) and Nila (age 9) Reflect on their Migratory Journey

Elson (age 9) and Nila (age 9) Reflect on their Migratory Journey

Elson: Esta es cuando… digamos comenzamos. Esta es cuando fuimos para allí para cruzar el río para México…Cuando estábamos por cruzarlo había un mono./ This is when… we were starting. This is when we went there to cross the river to Mexico. And this is for when we were there. When we were about to cross it there was a monkey.

Maxie: Un mono? y qué hizo el mono?/ A monkey? And what did the monkey do?

Elson: Había dos o tres. El mono se bajaba y después se subía [el árbol]./ There were two or three. The monkey got off and then got on [the tree].

Maxie: Es la primera vez que habías visto un mono?/ Is this the first time you’ve seen a monkey?

Elson: Sí./Yes

Maxie: Cómo era en la vida real?…/ What was it like in real life?…

Elson: Era amable…Bajaban y subían, los escuchábamos así “uuu”./ He was nice… They went down and up, we heard them like “uuu”.

Maxie:  Cómo te sentías? Te daba miedo el río?/ How were you feeling? Were you afraid of the river?

Elson: No, no me daba miedo./ No, I wasn’t scared.

Maxie:  Por qué?/Why?

Elson: El mono sí (es) como muy fuerte o enojado, pero no me daba miedo./ The monkey yes (is) like very strong or angry, but it didn’t scare me.

Maxie:  Y el río no te dio miedo cruzarlo? Cómo cruzaste?/ And the river didn’t make you afraid to cross it? How did you cross?

Elson: En un (barco) y tuvimos que esperar tres horas o como dos para que nos tocara./ On a (boat) and we had to wait three or two hours for it to be our turn.

Elson: Así cruzamos, y después nos quedamos en un hotel. Ahí dormimos, pero ya en México./ So we crossed, and then we stayed in a hotel. We slept there, but already in Mexico.

Maxie:  Sentiste México diferente que Guatemala?/ Did you feel Mexico was different than Guatemala?

Elson: México diferente igual a Guatemala./ Mexico different equal to Guatemala.

Maxie:  Es la primera vez que saliste de tu casa en Honduras?/ Is this the first time you left your house in Honduras?

Elson: Por muy largo, sí./ For very long, yes.

Nila: Sí. Cuando veníamos de Guatemala vimos unos monos. Después pasamos por el río descalza. Después, cuando estábamos en Guatemala vimos a unos turistas./ Yes. When we were coming from Guatemala we saw some monkeys. Then we crossed the river barefoot. Later, when we were in Guatemala, we saw some tourists.

Kevin (age 13) Develops Community through Skateboarding

Kevin (age 13) Develops Community through Skateboarding

Maxie: Bueno, ¿y qué haces con la patineta?/ So, what do you do with the skateboard?

Kevin: Hago trucos./I do tricks.

Maxie: ¿Cómo cuales?/ Like what?

Kevin: A ver, hago uno que le doy vuelta a la patineta y caigo sin perderla…/ Let’s see, I do one where I flip the skateboard and land without losing it…

Maxie: Okay. ¿Cómo aprendiste a manejar la patineta?/Okay. How did you learn to skateboard?

Kevin: Es que aquí hay un parque grande que se llama Fundidora. Allá íbamos a caminar y yo miraba a la gente que llevaba patineta, me gustó y le pedí a mi mami que me compre una. Tengo amigos ahora que me enseñan./ Here there is a park called Fundidora. We used to go there to walk and I saw the people who were skateboarding and I liked it so I asked my mom to buy me one. I have friends now that teach me.

…Maxie: (risa) Okay. Entonces, en algunos años quieres ser patinador profesional. Cuando seas famoso, donde te gustar a vivir?/ Okay. So in a few years you want to be a professional skater. When you’re famous, where would you like to live?

Kevin: En Estados Unidos porque hay muchos parques bonitos para patinar./In the United States because there are many nice parks to skate.

Maxie: Algún lado en particular?/Anywhere in particular?

Kevin: Nueva York./New York.

Maxie: Nueva York, por qué te llama la atención?/New York, why does it draw your attention?

Kevin: Porque he visto a muchas personas que viven allí y hay parques muy bonitos./ Because I’ve seen a lot of people who live there and there are really nice parks.

3 thoughts on “Maxie Gluckman”

  1. Maxie, these are great. I love the range of references—monkeys, South Korea, skateboards. The aspiration and faith that the US will be better and that they will get there is poignant.

  2. Thank you for helping us to hear the voices of the children. It’s not very often kids are given a chance to say and show their thoughts.

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