This Hashtag Is Giving Immigrants A Positive Way To Speak About Their Experiences

Certain politics makes 'immigrant' synonymous with crime and negativity - #Immigrad is helping to change the story

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Recent political divisions, terrorist acts and fear-mongering have been damning for the immigrant image.

When it comes to noting a criminal's immigrant or immigrant-parent status, certain media outlets are quick to pop in the same stock phrases.

Likewise, certain politicians (not naming any names… *cough* Trump *cough* Farage *cough* Le Pen) have scapegoated both legal and illegal immigrants for a multitude of issues concerning crime, unemployment and more.

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These views are then passed around in conversations, in newspapers and mirrored on TV.

Unfortunately, despite the multitude of realities that exist in immigrant populations, we only end up seeing some variation of the same story.

Thankfully, things are changing. TV shows like Master of None and books like The Good Immigrant, are portraying the variety, reality and positivity of the immigrant 'experience' (hint - there isn't just one).

Likewise, there is a new hashtag being used widely across the USA, which serves to highlight the successes of immigrants and children of immigrants, breaking down the often-negative rhetoric surrounding this community.

#Immigrad was set up by Define America, which is a, 'non-profit media and culture organisation that uses the power of story to transcend politics and shift the conversation about immigrants and identity'.

With this in mind, the hashtag was created as an opportunity for immigrants, or children of immigrants, to share their success stories at school. It's a useful, necessary way to take control of their own narrative.

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A popular way of showing off their achievements is by decorating mortarboards (those square academic caps) with kick-ass slogans like, 'my dreams have no borders', 'undocumented and educated' and, our personal favourite, 'job-stealing immigrant'.

These hashtags have flooded Instagram in America as Graduation season kicks into full swing.

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People clearly have stories to tell and people they'd like to thank - all they've needed is the opportunity to do it.

from @undocumedia - Yasss! Powerful! A must-read! #ImmiGrad 🙌🏽❤️🎓@jassi.kbassi: "The cap says it all🌹 ft. @hatecopy 👩‍🎓💫 Today, my brother and I celebrate our crown givers, our immigrant parents. Today we graduated. We're not living the American Dream, we're living the Immigrant Dream. I never imagined my father would sacrifice his health for me so that I could get an education. During my first semester at Sac State, my father was diagnosed with a diabetic eye disease. I cannot express to you the guilt I felt after finding out. My father did not want to spend a dime on his health because he wanted to put my brother & I through school. My father suffered in silence, he kept his vision troubles to himself until one day he almost crashed his truck into oncoming traffic. My father does not have the most glamorous job. He is a farm worker that loves what he does, but with diabetes it is hard to love a job that is harsh on your body. I feel as if God has a special way of nudging us in life. If God didn't step in when he did then today my father would be blind; meaning my father wouldn't have been able to see my brother and I walk across the stage. I will be honest, I am amazed at how I got here today, but then again I know why I am here today. If my father could push through the pain, as I know he did --then I can easily place a college degree in his hardworking hands. Our parents suffer in silence so we can be blessed with success. On many occasions, I have held my father when his blood sugar was too low. On many occasions, I have been a witness to his pain. On many occasions, I have felt guilty because I wished to be the one suffering instead. When I say that I am proud to be the daughter of immigrants, I do not say this lightly. I am charmed to the moon to say that I will be the first person out of my family to go to grad school this fall. These last 5 years have been a journey, but we made it Ma & Dad! Much love & Light to the class of 2017💫🌹 P.S @SacState this daughter of immigrants still has more to offer, see you in the fall🍂" ___________ #SacState #GradCap #GradSchool #Immigrants #Indian #India #SouthAsian #Sikh #Graduation #SacstateGra

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Now the #Immigrad gives them that platform, as well as the perfect collection of 'f you's' to show anyone who dare harbour immigrant prejudice.

The hashtag also gives students an opportunity to thank their parents for everything they have done to help them get to this point.

The next step? To get this trending in the UK - there are so many important stories we need to hear.

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