Team Name: Glorybelle Barrios
School: Coral Reef High School
Project Title: MiamiGrants
Grade: 10th Grade
URL of Project:
Every breath, in a span of 10, could have been the last to escape.
Maria, a fourteen-year-old asylum seeker from Honduras, was confined to the solitary repetition of watching “disney sitcoms” in a pajama, mask, and amused face in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York. Maria, accompanied by her frightened mother, fled Honduras in 2019 upon the murder of her father and torture of her sister by Honduran forces. Gabriela, Maria’s mother, urged Maria to traverse the border, as she, an unaccompanied minor, could have had the opportunity to be reunited with a cousin residing in Miami, Florida. The story published in the New Yorker is not ordinary. Immigrant families, especially at the southern border, have endured a wall of sacrifice and tragedy ranging from widespread diseases at refugee camps to a pool of unprecedented tears.
To be undocumented is to radiate the lust contained with overcoming barriers. Miami has a population of approximately half a million undocumented people, serving positions largely in agriculture, construction, and the restaurant industry. Thus, Miami’s undocumented population is the framework for our beloved community; that is, a community structured on the ideals of justice, equity, and unity. Yet, elected officials in Miami-Dade county haven’t proposed resilience for the undocumented, immigrant community on the frontlines of evictions, public health crises, and financial decay.
MiamiGrants is a digital platform that seeks to provide a haven for Miami’s undocumented population by providing access to health care, lawyers’ contacts, educational resources, and aid-providing locations. Moreover, MiamiGrants includes outlines of actionable items such as petitions, protests, and working groups seeking recruitment- for change is rooted in the cultivation of our community’s voices. MiamiGrants functions on the basis of accessibility, having the spheres of physiological, safety, and community needs entwined into one platform.
Through knocking on doors ranging from mahogany to oak-brown, I listened to undocumented voices and learned how their valid experiences funnel into greater contribution. MiamiGrants, thereby, includes a tab where undocumented individuals can free their burdens through storytelling (without publicizing their identification). The first story I heard on my canvassing trial was that of a Panamanian family who fled due to construction displacement. In the shoddy, wooded home, I realized how computer science could be utilized to leverage a digital campaign with personal narrative-sharing. When a movement makes a situation personal, empathy reigns and -ultimately- equity is achieved by the organization. By this principle, the hardest aspect of founding MiamiGrants was the devising of an inclusive platform that radiates homage through a screen visually and literally. Alas, I feel rewarded with the seeds I planted; seeds I wish to flourish into a garden of sanctuary.”