First Generation

Sometimes I wonder if my parents will ever understand why I make pictures. They came to Massachusetts 25 years ago from Central America. My father, Rubio, was from El Salvador and had grown up during its civil war. My mother, Katy, immigrated to the United States from Guatemala when she was 16 years old. They both wanted to escape the violence and have better lives. When I started making these pictures, I was looking at how my generation tried to fit into both cultures, how we were in situations where we had to help our parents with different tasks, from translating for them at the hospital to taking them to work and other things. In a way, there was always pressure on my cousins and me to do well, as if our successes would justify our parents’ sacrifices. So the pictures are about honoring a debt to my immigrant parents.

 

The series, First Generation, was published on The New York Times Lensblog, Honoring a Debt to Immigrant Parents and on The Groundtruth Project, Documenting my family as a First Generation American.