A fundraising project has been launched for No le digas a nadie (Don’t Tell Anyone), a documentary following the story of a DREAMer’s experience coming out as undocumented and dealing with long-term sexual abuse.
When Angy Rivera was 3-years-old, she and her mother moved to Queens, N.Y. from Colombia to flee violence and poverty. In high school, she became involved in immigration activism with the New York State Youth Leadership Council [NYSYLC] in 2009. As she decided to come out as undocumented, she found her voice in her advice column ‘Ask Angy’, detailing her decision reveal her status and give advice to anyone going through similar experiences.
“I think the best experience others will see is me overcoming fears and reaching goals,” Rivera said. “Like, talking about my sexual abuse history or being able to afford another semester of school. Also, my mother coming out for the first time is a big deal!”
Her mother never wanted to tell anyone she was undocumented and became upset when she did, says director Mikaela Shwer. The film follows a sub story in which Rivera’s mother embraces the cause and comes out at a rally to a crowd of people with Angy.
“The film covers some people still in the shadows, Angie mentoring people coming out for the first time, and we also touch on Angy through the process of applying for deferred action,” Shwer says. “No le digas a nadie also reflects a powerful sub story about the silence of being undocumented or abused, and not telling anyone.”
Rivera’s mother’s boyfriend started abusing her when she was 4 years old. Four years later, she made the decision to go to get help and speak out.
“Being undocumented didn’t keep me from reporting [the abuse],” she said. “I was 8 when I reported the abuse. I didn’t really understand that I was undocumented back then. However, that is the reality of a lot of other victims.”
This film is not just about immigration issues but about human rights issues, Rivera said. Immigrants are multi-issued people and struggle with more aside from immigration.
“[This is] a different face and story to immigration as well as strength and resilience,” she said. “And if someone is in the same situation as me, I hope they leave feeling like they are not alone.
Shwer, along with Nat Rosa and Katie O’Rourke, present Rivera’s story to empower people living silent in the shadows of their immigration status. So far, the group has fundraised about 60 percent to their goal.
“For us in terms of the film, the most important part is getting her story out there for people to understand these experiences,” says Mikaela Shwer, the director of the film. “Her story has won a triumph in the face of adversity and is the quintessential American story. With the immigration debate so huge right now, it’s good to get to know people affected by the issue.”