Lesson Plan September 23, 2015
The Journey North: Exploring reasons behind migration to the U.S. from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala
Questions for "Aqui Vivimos"
- What are three factors that have led to Honduras’s current violent climate?
- According to Relph’s article “Dispatch from Honduras: What Life is Like in the Murder Capital of the World,” what percentage of murders go unsolved in San Pedro Sula?
- Again according to “Dispatch from Honduras,” by some estimates what percentage of US-bound cocaine passes through Honduras?
- Look through Bracco’s slideshows entitled “Postcard from Honduras: On the Eve of the Election” and “A Contested Election in Honduras.” What picture do these photos give you of life in Honduras? How is that picture different from, and similar to, what Relph describes in his dispatch? Why do you think the journalists chose to include these different representations of the country in their project?
- This project has both strong writing and strong visuals. Which resonates with you more? Which do you feel is more effective at communicating both the emotions and the details of the situation in Honduras?
- How are you connected to the people depicted in these articles and photographs?
- What has been recent U.S. foreign policy in Honduras? What kind of aid does the U.S. give to Honduras? What impacts might these U.S. policies be having on Honduras?
Questions for "Chicago and Guatemala: Too Young to Die"
- In just looking at the photographs, do you feel like any information is missing? If so, what are you left wanting to know?
- Read Ortiz’s blog post “Guatemala: Meeting Michael.” When did the civil war end? What is the approximate annual murder rate in Guatemala since the end of the war? What else did you learn from Michael’s story?
- The project title and description make clear the connection Ortiz is trying to illustrate in this project: that gun violence in American cities like Chicago echoes in Guatemala, and this violence strongly impacts youth in both cities. Do you feel like you can relate on any level to the American or Guatemalan people Ortiz documents here? If so, how? If not, why not?
- What factors fuel violence in any city? What are some solutions to those problems?
- Look through the photo slideshow “Legacy of Bloodshed Hangs Over Guatemala.” Ortiz shoots primarily in black and white. Do you agree with that stylistic choice for this particular project? Why or why not?
- It is easy to draw the conclusion that most gun violence is gang-related. Why should we be careful when making assumptions like this? Why might it be important to examine the r oot causes of violence and the formation of gangs?
Questions for "Guerrero: The Monster in the Mountains"
Based on Black’s photographs, list five words you would use to describe Guerrero.
What is the poverty rate in Guerrero? What does that have to do with the challenges the state faces?
What emotions did you feel, or what thoughts did you have, as you clicked through Black’s photos?
What, if anything, did you know before today about the case of the 43 missing students in Guerrero? If you don’t have any context, what do you know about the case after watching the video? What conclusions can you draw from the information in the video?
Is there hope in Guerrero?
Black writes that “over a quarter of Guerrero’s population has migrated to the United States.” Knowing what you know now about Guerrero, how do you feel about this?
In his “Meet the Journalist” video, Black says “This is a story of us as well, not just a story of ‘them’ somewhere over there.” What does he mean by this? Do you agree?
- How does each journalist address the issues of violence and poverty in Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, respectively?
- What might be the journalists' and their editors' purpose for publishing this work as primarily visual media?
- Why is it important to understand the root causes of massive population shifts?
Introducing the Lesson:
In this lesson we will look at three reporting projects: Dominic Bracco and Jeremy Relph on violence in Honduras; Carlos Javier Ortiz on violence in Guatemala; and Matt Black on 43 abducted students in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico.
People migrate across international borders for many reasons, but chronic poverty, political corruption and instability, few economic prospects, and systemic violence in parts of Central America and Mexico have forced thousands of their citizens north to the United States in recent years.
According to the New York Times, American immigration authorities along the southern border have detained more than 233,000 non-Mexican migrants, mostly from Central America, since October 2013. Since 1990, the number of Central American immigrants in the United States has nearly tripled, according to the Migration Policy Institute.* But MPI also reported in 2013 that over the past five decades, Mexicans have constituted the single largest group of immigrants to the United States originating from Latin America.
*The Migration Policy Institute is "an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide."
You're either on the staff of a state government official for a U.S. southern border state or the staff of a Congressman/woman from one of these states. Using the resources from this lesson that resonated with you the most strongly -- photos, video and/or text -- craft an informational multimedia package giving your boss the background information he or she will need to vote on sound U.S. immigration policies for Central American and Mexican migrants. What is a policy that makes sense to you? Explain it to your boss, and explain your rationale, using resources from the lesson.
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Using evidence from multiple texts in multiple formats, students will be able to address the question “How do you think the United States should respond to migrants fleeing systemic violence and poverty in their home countries?”
Note: All three of these projects contain some graphic images.
REPORTING FEATURED IN THIS LESSON PLAN
On September 26, 2014, 43 Mexican students went missing in Iguala, a mountain town in the state of...
Honduras: "Aqui Vivimos"
"Honduras: Aqui Vivimos" ("Honduras: We Live Here") explores the social conditions—abject poverty...
“Too Young to Die” is a long-term exploration of the tragedy gun violence exacts on Chicago’s...