The El Paso Times alerted us to this new photo campaign put together by David Quintanilla targetting discrimination. We had to tip our hats because its the right anti-dote in what many see as an increasingly volitile climate. Sometimes you have to do something bold and creative to shock people and get them to think... Quintanilla hits the mark.
His campaign reminds me of two other well recieved photo campaigns. One was out of Los Angeles started by photographer/ DJ Azul. He had folks hold signs that said 'Stop the War in Iraq' or Peace in Iraq...
The other was put togther by Hip Hop icon Paradise Gray of X-Clan. His campaign was designed to bring attention to the Jena 6.. His photos had people holding signs that said We All Live in Jena.
'Boycott Hate' takes shape: Photo campaign targets discrimination
By Ramon Renteria \ El Paso Times
EL PASO -- Photographer David Quintanilla volunteered to help a friend motivate young people to become more involved in the national immigration debate.
He played around with different ideas and then created "Boycott Hate," an Internet based, anti-discrimination campaign that started with friends and family on the social networking site Facebook and quickly spread.
"It's really just a visual awareness project," Quintanilla said. "That's all."
The campaign was inspired by Arizona's tough new law designed to identify, prosecute and deport undocumented immigrants. The law, signed in April and effective July 29, has ignited protests across the Southwest and widespread boycott movements against Arizona.
Opponents describe the controversial law as an open invitation to harass and discriminate against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status.
The law would give police broad authority to detain anyone suspected of being in the United States illegally.
Quintanilla, 27, was recruited to help Boycott Arizona, an El Paso advocacy group trying to get more young people involved in the issue.
He later invited the public to drop by his studio in East-Central El Paso to be photographed in a white shirt, wearing pink handcuffs and with the words
"Boycott Hate" painted in black on their forearms.
The pink handcuffs are a reference to humiliation tactics used by Arizona's Joseph M. Arpaio, the controversial Maricopa County sheriff widely criticized for forcing inmates to wear pink.
More than 150 people have come forward to participate in the campaign, including young, middle-age and older people, plus a few El Paso politicians.
Quintanilla e-mails the images to the subjects he photographs and asks them to post the images on their own social networks or cell phones.
Quintanilla realized the slogan would be perceived as political even though he insists it is not meant as a statement against Arizona.
"I wanted this campaign to promote a visual dialogue that any kind of discrimination should not be tolerated," Quintanilla said.
"Although the main focus of this national debate centers around the Latino community, I wanted this campaign to encompass all discrimination against all races, sizes, beliefs, age and sexual orientation."
An El Paso artist, who identifies herself only as Karla L.R., is convinced border residents must speak out against social injustices against immigrants or anyone else.
"The situation should be handled more humanely," she said after having her
Photographer David Quintanilla created the Internet-based "Boycott Hate" anti-discrimination campaign inspired by Arizona's new law designed to identify and prosecute undocumented immigrants. As part of the campaign, people are photographed in a white shirt, wearing pink handcuffs and with the words "Boycott Hate" painted in black on their forearms. (Photos by David Quintanilla)
photograph taken for the campaign.
Why did Edevaldo Orosco, 29, a former Juárez resident now living and working in El Paso, enlist in the campaign?
"To show people that we don't stand by and take things lightly," he said. "We are reacting."
For the Rev. Kati Houts, pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of El Paso, participating in the campaign was a no-brainer, considering, she said, that Jesus preached against hate and never talked about excluding people.
"The United States is a melting pot of many kinds of people," Houts said. "God doesn't close the doors on heaven. Neither should we close our doors. We should be a loving group of people."
Though the El Paso version of Boycott Arizona applauded Quintanilla for capturing "the raw honesty of these people showing their support," others criticized the campaign.
"I was shocked to get any negative feedback," Quintanilla said. "To some, this is a senseless glamour shot that won't change the world, but to me this is a way I can use my talent to make a statement."
Quintanilla, an Americas High School graduate, studied at the Art Institute in Phoenix and later owned a small business in Arizona before moving back to El Paso. He described the movement to boycott Arizona-based businesses or products as counter productive.
"I don't agree with the politics," he said. "I wouldn't want anybody to retaliate against me because of where I own a business."
For now, Quintanilla is just hoping the catchy phrase he concocted continues to inspire young people and others to spread the anti-discrimination message.
"It's probably not going to change the world," he said. "This is just an attempt to make a visual statement."
Ramon Renteria may be reached at email@example.com; 546-6146.