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BAY AREA BORDER RELIEF invites you to join us for a free virtual documentary film screening, panel and Q&A!
STRENGTH: Documenting the Asylum Seeker

Wednesday, October 21st at 4 PM PT (7 PM ET )

ree Virtual Screening of the documentary film: STRENGTH Documenting the Asylum Seeker

STRENGTH sheds light on the asylum seeker coming from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to the United States. The film provides a platform for these immigrants to tell their stories and share their motives for migration.

Panel Discussion + Q&A

Moderator: Chantal Da Silva, Journalist

  • Dr. Oscar Guerra, University of Connecticut and Guerra Production, filmmaker
  • Sr. Norma Seni Pimentel, Catholic Charities Rio Grande Valley
  • Dr. Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga, University of San Francisco, ALAS, and Bay Area Border Relief
  • Rodrigo Cervantes, KJZZ / Arizona NPR station

Film (28 min.), Panel Discussion (30 min.), + Q&A


How can independent critical media promote social change? The content provides a way for marginalized groups to share and disseminate counter-stories, contradict dominant and potentially stereotypical narratives, and strengthen their voice and identity. STRENGTH Documenting the Asylum Seeker is a film that illustrates the truths of asylum seekers coming from Central America to the U.S. featuring interviews with mothers and fathers who are escaping violence from their home countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. These stories provide an opportunity for a wider audience to understand not only the social and political situation behind immigration, but also the reasons why these immigrants leave their country, family, and culture to embark on a perilous journey in order to provide better, yet uncertain, futures for their kids. The main goal of this film is to document, understand, and legitimize the immigrant’s voice.

How can we advocate for secure borders without demonizing, criminalizing, and weaponizing immigrants who come to the U.S.? Don’t they have a right to seek asylum? How can we diminish the rhetoric of hatred and work together to establish common and fair goals for everyone?

The stories in this film are presented from the perspective of immigrants who want to share their experience with a wider, non-Latino audience. We don’t expect that all viewers will be familiar with the economic conditions and sociopolitical atmosphere of Central America. For that reason, the piece starts by providing background information about Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Special thanks and appreciation to our SPONSORS: Kathy & Richard Klein and Bill McIver

Bay Area Border Relief is a humanitarian non-profit organization that serves and advocates for children and families seeking their human right to asylum in the U.S.


Oscar Guerra is an Emmy® award-winning director, researcher, and educator. He is an Assistant Professor of Film and Video at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Guerra’s focus is storytelling that promotes critical thinking and social investment. He aims to produce media that provides a way for underrepresented groups to share and disseminate counter-stories, contradict dominant and potentially stereotypical narratives, and strengthen their voices and identities.

Latest work––In collaboration with FRONTLINE, Dr. Guerra wrote, produced and directed “Love, Life & the Virus,” the story of a mother in Stamford, Connecticut, struggling to survive COVID and see her newborn baby and her immigrant family again after being put on a ventilator and being put into a coma.


Chantal da Silva, is a Canadian-British journalist focused on covering immigration, human rights and politics. Her work has been published by The Independent, Forbes, Newsweek Magazine, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and others, with her immigration reporting for The Independent co-winning a 2018 Migration Media Award.

Sr. Norma Seni Pimentel, Executive Director of Catholic Charities RGV, THE 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE OF 2020, Time Magazine. As executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, Sister Pimentel has been on the front lines of mercy for three decades, supporting migrants who are seeking refuge in the U.S. along Texas’ border with Mexico.

Dr. Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga is Faculty Coordinator for the Masters In Counseling, Marriage & Family Therapy program at the University of San Francisco , founder of ALAS, Ayudando Latinos a Soñar and Co-Founder of Bay Area Border Relief. She has a doctorate in Education, and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with eighteen years experience working in community mental health, with a specialization in child trauma and Latino Mental Health.

Rodrigo Cervantes is KJZZ Bureau Chief in Mexico City, an Arizona NPR members station, where he was born and raised. He has served as opinion writer, contributor and commentator for several media outlets and organizations in Mexico and the United States, including CNN, Georgia Public Broadcasting and Univisión.


There’s a film preview and lots more details on Eventbrite:
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