Photo and interview by Kerry Sherck
When I was little, I would grab those little cars—the Hot Wheels—and I would paint them using fingernail polish. Ever since I was young it’s something that’s caught my attention—the colors, the finishes… To a certain point it’s like an art… you have to feel it. If you don’t feel it, it’s not for you.
My work is, more than anything, my passion. I see a car that’s been in a crash or had an accident and I feel a huge satisfaction to see that together with everyone who works here, we can fix it. I come from a city where there was a lot of violence, crime, and drugs. Even if you wanted to have dreams, you couldn’t, because life was too hard. You couldn’t see any future… and thanks to God, when I arrived here I saw that you could have a future. If you wanted to accomplish something, even if it was difficult, you could achieve it.
My son is 8 years old. I’m happy for him because he’s in a country where there are opportunities, and more because he was born here—he’s part of this country. But I also don’t want him to forget that his parents are from another country, that we fought to have a better life. We have to teach him that he has to work hard and study, so that one day he can have a career, and be someone important.
— Arturo, 29
The New American Dreamers highlights the stories of some of the incredible Dreamers in our community. Created by photographers Sylvia Johnson and Kerry Sherck, and produced in partnership with the Santa Fe Dreamers Project, The New American Dreamers is a positive reframe of who many of the immigrants living in our community are. Their stories reflect the dreams, hopes, challenges, and ambitions that are inherent to all of us as human beings. In the context of such a toxic narrative currently being perpetuated about immigrants in this country, our goal with this project is to flip the perspective through stories of incredible Dreamers who are our friends, clients, and neighbors.
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