As the daughter of a Colombian immigrant, I’m deeply interested in the ways immigrants and refugees are displayed in the news, and one of the organizations I follow for multiple perspectives is the International Rescue Committee. This nonprofit was convened at the urging of Albert Einstein, and today it supports more than 40 countries in crisis, helping more than 31.5 million people in these countries.
I was reading some news on their site tonight and stumbled across an article about Disney’s Encanto, the delightful and poignant movie about the Madrigal family and their whimsical gifts. Set in Colombia, the movie make me cry every time I watch it because of all the little details they got right about the country, big and small.
I’ll be touching down in Bogota, the country’s capital in two weeks, and I can’t wait to see family. My versions of Casita, the magical house that comes alive in the movie, are all long gone, but memories of my own abuela live on. Whatever her traumas may have been (I wrote about my perception of some of them in a poem published in this 2022 anthology by Flowersong Press) my abuela did her best for her family and encouraged all her kids to find their own glow. My mom’s immigration story is not one of seeking refuge in the way that move is prompted for so many others, but it has its own lasting impacts, bad and good and almost always mystical.
I loved reading the article “Five ways Disney’s ‘Encanto’ celebrates refugees” on the IRC website tonight, and I hope you will too.