Fidencio Fifeld-Perez is a Mexico-born, North Carolina-raised artist who has produced gorgeous, intricate multi-media pieces. He’s also a DACA Dreamer, whose love for art was nurtured because he was able to remain in the country and develop his craft. Natalie Ringsmuth is the founder and director of UniteCloud, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing together the townspeople of St. Cloud, Minnesota, divided by immigration and its community’s ethnic and religious differences.
Both are the subjects of a pair of short films from agency TBD for Welcoming America, a non-partisan, non-profit dedicated to fostering inclusion and promoting a welcoming environment for immigrants and all residents in the U.S.
In Fifeld-Perez’s film, we see how it’s people of different backgrounds who complete the story of the U.S. That point is made clear with a striking metaphor--one of the works he’s created involved “finishing” the unfinished George Washington Athenaeum portrait that graces the one-dollar bill. “I think about the parallel of the portrait and of America representing the journey that all of us are still in...and by choosing to add another material to this portrait, I see it as an act of freedom,” he says. The film ends with the line, “It takes us all to make us whole.”
The short about Ringsmuth depicts how she has been trying to build a bridge to connect the diverse community of St. Cloud, which had been predominantly white until about two or three decades ago, after refugees began to settle in the area. “Relationships are real, and relationships change people,” she says. “If we can walk alongside of each other in this community, then we don’t have time to hate each other,” she says. The endline then reads, “The best of us is revealed in how we treat the rest of us.”