The Alien Chronicles Portrait Series is a photographic collaboration by Lauren von Eckartsberg and Saadia Khan to highlight America’s diversity through guests from The Alien Chronicles Podcast, which seeks to challenge the monolithic view of immigrants by reclaiming and redefining the immigrant narrative. The Alien Chronicles is available on all major platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, Spotify. For more information and to listen to all the episodes, you can check out The Alien Chronicles website at http://alienchroniclespod.com.
“In general, the misconception about refugees or immigrants is always about “they're here to take your job.” Actually, they're not here to take a job. They're not here to take the job away from the native born; they are here to explore opportunities - [whether they] may be financial, cultural or personal.”
“I think that because of the deep polarization that we're seeing in our nation, it’s affecting every minority group. Minorities in general are being singled out as if we somehow are responsible for the things that are going on in America. So because we're different, because we're newcomers, we are being accused, and we're being singled out. But that, by the way, is the story of America. This has been going on ever since the very beginning.”
“I think people say, because you’re criticizing the government, you must not love the country. But that's not true. I think criticism shouldn't be something that is seen as un-American. I think it is pretty American to criticize.”
“My time in school was very much defined by going into the homes of my friends and experiencing the music that their parents were playing and the food that they were having for dinner, and we would do our homework. And then we would be given the snacks that were bought at that particular specialty store. Because by virtue of these immigrant communities, there were all these stores that were serving, that were providing all of this food. And that was what America was.”
“My work is based sort of, [on my culture]. It's very vibrant. It's very bright. I really embrace color. When I moved to New York, you know, everyone was [wearing] black all the time. So I was like, What's up with this? You know, in Pakistan, people will wear every color in the rainbow. And sometimes all at the same time. And it works.”
“We own businesses, and we bring a lot of money into this country. We have a lot going on for us, and we deserve more respect.”
“In Afghanistan, there is only one religion. When I came here, the biggest shock was, I call it coexisting, because you see, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, everybody is practicing multi-faith, but they're living close to each other and in the same community and in the same society. If you come here, you can be anything. You can be a Muslim. You can be a Christian. Nobody will force you to leave your religion, or your beliefs or your faith, but you have to choose your own faith and religion and practice the way you want.”
“In my experience, even when someone's vehemently been against my point, I, I've had a few opportunities, to invite them for a conversation, or at least to be able to explain that I don't agree with you, and you don't have to agree with me. That's all right. And even if you're not understanding where I am, you can try to understand where I'm coming from. And I think a lot of that can happen just with one question. All you have to do is, before making a judgment, ask a question.”
“A few years ago, when I moved to New York, I experienced the journey that a person experiences when they are resettled, and although I can't compare my journey to that of a refugee, I understand how difficult it is to acclimate to a new culture, to a new climate and all of that. So I've decided that I want to help make that transition much easier. Plus, we're just kids trying to do some good in the world.”
B-Girls in Tokyo
I met up with B-Girl Ram and B-Girl Yuna in May 2019 in the Shibuya neighborhood of Tokyo to hear about what it’s like to be a female breakdancer and to get their views on whether or not they’d like to see breakdancing in the Olympics. Here are some photos from our meetup.