Immigrants and refugees are facing increasingly stringent immigration policies when trying to enter the United States. Refugees, by definition, come to the United States not out of free will, but out of desperation to save the lives of their families. As many communities have discovered, welcoming these new Americans does not go unrewarded. New Americans build communities and revitalize economies. The Rust Belt region is no exception. In order to understand our new neighbors, we need to listen to their stories and discover just how far they have come to share in the American dream.
Rust Belt New Americans is a film by MenajErie Studio, based on a photo exhibition by Maitham Basha-Agha. Maitham, a refugee himself, shares his story while helping others tell theirs.
The film’s mission is to break down prejudices and stereotypes towards refugee and immigrant populations. By sharing their experiences, it sheds light on the hardships they've faced as well as their personal and family values. We hope to remind humanity how to be compassionate and educate those who may not have a personal connection to the refugee crisis.