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For years, harmful anti-immigrant, anti-Black, and anti-Indigenous narratives have proliferated public discourse from online forums to Congressional legislatures. The lives of millions of immigrants and people of color are at stake in the face of persistent socio-political neglect, criminalization, and rising white nationalist violence.
Since 2019, United We Dream (UWD) has been engaged in an organized fight against pervasive disinformation targeted at immigrants, Latinx people, and people of color. Especially in a period of heightened racist and xenophobic attacks against the communities we represent, the work to circumvent inoculation of harmful narratives with organic community building and culturally responsive content is more urgent than ever.
With more than 1.2 million members, UWD is the nation’s largest multiracial network by and for immigrant youth working in pursuit of a world in which our communities can thrive. Consecutive to dynamic, year-round campaigns at the federal and state/local levels, UWD has built a robust digital and distributed organizing program to effect tangible change and foster new changemakers on and offline. Through unique, culturally responsive digital content, our organization works to advance potent cultural and narrative shifts that center immigrant stories as a praxis for collective transformation.
To propel positive, pro-immigrant narrative and culture shifts that center the lives and stories of the directly impacted, UWD has honed in on two key narrative strategy areas to guide our work over the long term: 1) Inherent Love and Self Worth; and 2) Abundance and Collective Care.
This past April, we celebrated the release of our inaugural web series - No Borders, Just Flavors! - a cooking competition-style show where immigrant participants go head-to-head sharing cultural recipes and family histories while building community with folks from a variety of backgrounds. The YouTube-based series, with four planned episodes, was created, directed, and staffed by an entirely immigrant and/or BIPOC cast and crew. The show marks an evolved online intervention that combines grassroots organizing strategies with intentional, creative storytelling from immigrant youth across the country.
The series was conceptualized by UWD’s members, written and produced in-house, and backed by audience testing we developed with research firm Swayable using owned-media recipe storytelling content we released on YouTube in 2020. We’ve reached more than 1 million people across Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter. While we just wrapped the final episode of Season 1, on average, each episode has reached 40,000 views within seven days of publishing. We are excited to learn more about the impact and engagement levels of this project soon. Looking ahead, UWD is planning a post-release audience research component and initial planning/pre-production for Season 2 of No Borders, Just Flavors.
Narrative change is about influencing our world view and ensuring we are creating a world that works for all of us. Donors have a unique opportunity to fund this work to help shift harmful perceptions about immigrants and people of color and ensure equitable policies are put in place.
Please contact Greisa Martínez Rosas, Executive Director; and Abdoulaye Ba, Deputy Development Director to learn more.