Monologists have participated in this project to stimulate community conversation on critical issues through finding their personal, political and creative voice. National leaders and musicians have agreed to “stand in their shoes” to help move these conversations forward by amplifying their voices.
For the 12 episodes in season one of Shoebox Stories, Motus worked with a group of undocumented young people who wrote, reflected, prayed, meditated, yelled and cried until they found one story from their lives they chose to share on this with you and your neighbors across the country.
Alejandro Fuentes Mena
Alejandro Fuentes Mena was born in Valparaiso, Chile and grew up in San Diego, California after the age of four. He received a B.A. in Psychology from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Through Teach For America, Alejandro was one of the first two DACAmented teachers in the nation and is now in his fifth year of teaching in Colorado. He tells a story of his hard working parents and celebrates the assets he and his family are to our country.
Ana Casas was born in San Jerónimo, Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Mexico. Her mother crossed the border with her and her two brothers when she was 11. She is a recipient of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). She tells the story of her younger brother’s deportation away from everyone he knew and loved into an unfamiliar country. And that the crime doesn't equal the punishment when it comes to immigrant lives.
Armando Peniche is a Library Program Associate with Denver Public Libraries. He loves connecting community members with educational resources and runs a science club for kids. Armando is also creating his own picture books featuring diverse characters with fun, empowering storylines. His monologue addresses the criminalization of people of color and the dangerous rhetoric maligning undocumented people under the current administration.
Cristian Solano-Córdova is the Communications Manager with the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. He is a former student body president of Metropolitan State University, and advocated for undocumented students at the Auraria Campus, and for immigrants at the Mental Health Center of Denver. He tells the story of strategizing to protect his eight-year-old sister, who is an American citizen, in the event her mother gets deported.
Hugo Enrique Juarez-Luna
Hugo Enrique Juarez-Luna was born in Toluca, México. Hugo came to the United States to Phoenix AZ at the age of 12. He works for Padres Y Jovenes Unidos supporting young Latino students. Hugo is a person of great integrity and his monologue expresses his anger and pain at being accused of being a criminal.
Irving Reza holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of New Mexico. He currently works at Growhaus in Denver, Colorado, bringing healthy food to the depressed Elyria-Swansea neighborhood of Denver. His monologue explores the threat he feels every time he has to pass through a Border Patrol checkpoint during his visits to his grandmother in El Paso, Texas, and the importance of The U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Juan Juarez is a Board Member for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, a community leader for Northern Colorado Immigrants United, a student at Metropolitan State University majoring in Mechanical Engineering, and a man of tremendous integrity. His story is about his desire for the DREAM Act to pass, and the pain caused by congressional representatives pushing for the DREAM Act, to vilify parents who brought their children to this country undocumented.
Kiara Chavez, is Motus Theater’s Community Development & Marketing Coordinator. She graduated from CU-Boulder with a degree in Business Administration. She tells a tender story of flying home to Mexico for the first time since she was four to see her ailing grandmother as part of the “Advanced Parole” program that allowed youth with DACA status to leave the country for work, education, or humanitarian reasons. (Advanced Parole was terminated by the current administration).
Reydesel Salvidrez-Rodríguez migrated to the U.S. with his family from Mexico at the age of 10 and has been living in Denver for the last 17 years. Despite being legally deaf and undocumented, Salvidrez graduated from the University of Colorado of Denver, where he majored in Communications and Ethnic Studies. He was the first undocumented Senator for the CU Denver Student Government Association. He tells the story of his despair and hope.
Tania Chairez received a B.S. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Grand Canyon University. She is an advisor for college students who have graduated from KIPP Colorado Schools. Tania was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine and named one of 12 Inspiring Latinas Under 25 by Latina Magazine. Her story challenges people to acknowledge the danger to us all from the current threats facing the undocumented community, and take action.
Victor Galvan is the Director of Membership and Engagement at the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. He was born in Chihuahua, Mexico but has lived in Denver, Colorado since he was 8 months old. In 2012, Victor joined the CIRC team to help mobilize Latino and immigrant voters in the general election and was instrumental in the ASSET campaign for in-state tuition equity for undocumented students. Victor’s monologue is about the current threat to human rights and his insistence on not giving up.
Laura Peniche is an undocumented mother of three and an immigrants rights activist. Born in Puebla, Mexico, she migrated to the U.S. at age 13. She earned an Associates of Applied Science in Writing/Directing for Film & Television from the Colorado Film School. Laura produced the documentary film, “Five Dreamers”, airing on PBS in 2019. Laura is a woman of strong Christian faith whose monologue reaches out to fellow Christians to think about Jesus’ intervention for the woman who was about to be stoned.
Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer. She travels in this and other countries as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality. She is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples, and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice. She lives in New York City, and recently published a new book.
Jorge Ramos is a Mexican-born American journalist and author. Regarded as the best-known Spanish-language news anchor in the United States of America, he has been referred to as "The Walter Cronkite of Latin America". Based in Miami, Florida, he anchors the Univision news program Noticiero Univision, the Univision Sunday-morning political news program Al Punto, and the Fusion TV English-language program America with Jorge Ramos. He has covered five wars, and events ranging from the fall of the Berlin Wall] to the War in Afghanistan.
Art Acevedo was sworn-in as Chief of the Houston Police Department (HPD) on November 30, 2016. Chief Acevedo leads a department of 5,200 sworn law enforcement officers and 1,200 civilian support personnel with an annual general fund budget of $825 million in the fourth largest city in the United States. The first Hispanic to lead the HPD, Acevedo brings a unique understanding to the concerns of the diverse communities in the City of Houston.
As a reporter for NPR, Maria Hinojosa was among the first to report on youth violence in urban communities on a national scale. In 2010, she created the Futuro Media Group, an independent, nonprofit organization based in Harlem, NYC with the mission to create multimedia content for and about the new American mainstream in the service of empowering people to navigate the complexities of an increasingly diverse and connected world.
John Lithgow is an American actor, musician, poet, author, and singer. He is the recipient of numerous accolades, including six Primetime Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, and has been nominated for two Academy Awards and four Grammy Awards. Lithgow serves on a commission to advance the cause of the humanities and social sciences, advocating for action by the government and is also an advocate for literacy and arts education for children.
Winner of 18 Grammy Awards, and numerous other awards, Yo-Yo Ma, is one of the best-known classical cellists of the recording era, whose crossover releases have spanned the world. Working with partners from across disciplines, Yo-Yo creates programs that stretch the boundaries of genre and tradition to explore music-making as a means not only to share and express meaning, but also as a model for the cultural collaboration he considers essential to a strong society.
Pianist, composer, and educator, Arturo O’Farill was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City. His professional career began with the Carla Bley Band and continued to work with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte. Arturo’s highly praised “Afro-Latin Jazz Suite” from the album CUBA: The Conversation Continues (Motéma) took the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition and the 2016 Latin Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. His powerful “Three Revolutions” from the album Familia-Tribute to Chico and Bebo was the 2018 Grammy Award (his sixth) winner for Best Instrumental Composition.