On December 8, 2019, Jakelin Caal Maquin, a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who was crossing the border with her father, died in the custody of U.S. Border Patrol. 

Horrified by this story, Chicana artist Sandy Rodríguez painted a portrait of Jakelin to honor her memory. It became one of her many paintings highlighting children suffering at the hands of our immigration system. 

Sandy’s seen “so much hostility and misinformation towards Latino communities,” that she’s saying “we are not just numbers or stereotypes, we are more than that” with her series, You Will Not Be Forgotten. 

In her paintings, she honors child migrant’s Mayan ancestry by painting on handmade amate paper, a type of Mexican paper used in the pre-contact times. And she uses natural colors found in Central America, like “Maya blue”.

In 2018 Sandy painted a map of the nearly 50 ICE child detention centers operating on the U.S./Mexico border.

We all have a way to contribute to positive change, and Sandy is using her talent to inspire and remind us that “we can fight inhumane detention and family separation.”

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Lisann Ramos (she/her/hers) is a Content Writer for Pulso. She is a Cuban American writer, audio producer and reporter. She produces a podcast called Now That We’re Friends for O, Miami. She lives in Miami, Florida, where she was born and raised. 📧: [email protected]