Last week Sonia Guinansaca traveled from New York to Washington D.C. to participate in a public art project that involved flying kites in the National Mall. Guinansaca, 23, was part of a group flying kites bearing their images to make a symbolic statement: "The desire for freedom and dignity is universal, and the natural human need to migrate can’t be suppressed."
The group of young immigrants led by CultureStrike and artist Miguel Luciano celebrated when they saw their kites on the front page of the Washington Post. A large image of Guinansaca, who identifies as undocumented, was front, center and above the fold.
Everyone was excited until they read the headline: "Young illegal immigrants fly kites and dream of freedom."
"The article was respectful and the cover photo was inspiring, but the i-word in the title took away from the beauty and humanizing aspect of the story," said Mónica Novoa, campaign coordinator for "Drop the I-Word."
Guinansaca says the excitement quickly turned in to sadness when she saw the headline. She writes in her open letter that even her 10-year-old brother noticed the i-word.
It’s important to note, Tara Bahrampour, the Washington Post reporter who wrote the story never used the i-word to identify anyone in her story. Neither did the caption of Guinansaca’s photo.
Guinansaca told Colorlines.com her letter is directed to the editor because she believes the headline was written by someone above Bahrampour.
On Thursday Guinansaca published an open letter to the to the editor of the Washington Post to let him know how the i-word affected her growing up:
An excerpt of Guinansaca’s open letter to the editor of the Washington Post is below: