- Posted October 23, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Impact Your World
Inocente: An Artist, Immigrant, Teenager, and Homeless.
Inocente Izucar started school in the United States when she was 5, one of 1.8 million other children who were brought over to America in search for a better future. Inocente was also one of 1.5 million homeless kids in this country. Inocente is now 19, and has won multiple awards for a short 40 minute documentary filmed over the course of 2 years, including an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. The short documentary titled “Inocente” has inspired thousands of people across the country.
Inocente has overcome many obstacles in her short life, including the feel of rejection from her parents and making the conscious decision to put a stop to the abusive treatment of her father. Her family immigrated to the United States from Mexico and had been living in America as undocumented immigrants. After a night of discussion and abuse by her father she decided she was going to make the decision to save herself and her mother by calling the police on her dad. He was deported back to Mexico, and things began to worsen for
Inocente and her family. The documentary takes you on a journey through the tough choices they had to make time and time again. They became homeless, due to her mom’s legal status, she could not keep a stable job which prevented them for living in the same place for more than 3 months.
Inocente’s mother says, “I imagined the [U.S.] as a paradise… [without] dirt, [just] with flowers and grass.” But the reality was nowhere near what she envisioned. Soon after her husband got deported the relationship between her and her daughter, Inocente, became more and more distant. Despite the rejection Inocente felt from her mother, she continued to push forth and attempt to become someone and escape the crude reality they were facing. The burden for Inocente’s mother became such a stressor that she proposed the entire family throw themselves off a bridge. Inocente convinced her not to do it and found an escape to her problems with expressing herself with art. Inocente claims that, “[her] life depends on [her] being an artist.”
Over the years they have continued to struggle, but since the release of the documentary Inocente and her mother have become closer to one another and are attempting to leave the past behind. All of the events in her life have encouraged her to try and inspire others to continue to follow their dreams.
I had the opportunity to interview her while she visited Spring Hill College. I asked her what advice she had for other undocumented children that faced the similar problems in their life and she said, “Not think about it, it’s one of the things [don’t] put labels on yourself. Just kind of forgetting about that because that is one less thing to worry about. I have been here my whole life, I started school here when I was 5 and I don’t feel any different.”
Inocente had two back to back showings at Spring Hill College and were both extremely successful with a full house at both.
“I have never seen such a strong young lady before. She never gave and has her own dreams, that’s what makes her strong. She has a bright future ahead of her.” – Fin Glowick
“Inocente showed me and made me aware again [to] appreciate all the things we have in life and that we should be aware that we cannot take your life for granted. Always appreciate [your] life, and thank you to all the people who made this [documentary] possible.” –Marc Schloesser
“Inocente was very touching and it was something that I could relate to in more than one way. She has the determination and the will-power to succeed and that is something that many young people of today lack. I admire her for that and hope to share her story with many others.” –Vanessa Salcedo
“Inocente opened my eyes to how such a strong willed soul can be found in such a young lady. The strength of those less fortunate is awe-inspiring.” –Sarah Bolotte
Q & A with Inocente:
What is the number one force that allows you to continue to not give up?
Inocente: My art is my number one priority, doing my art really helps me.
Through this documentary, has your aspect changed towards your mother and how you feel? I know you felt as if it was your fault that all of this happened.
“I don’t think it’s my fault anymore, I’ve done a lot of growing. I’m 19 now, me and my mom are at a much better place and I don’t blame her or myself… that’s in the past.”
Was the documentary that breaking point so that you knew she loved you and so that she knew how you felt about her?
“This documentary was really helpful, they interviewed us separately so [this documentary allowed me] to see what she had to say and her what I had to say.”
What advice would you give other children facing homelessness?
“Find someone who will help them and support them. I found adults and they helped me and supported me and I realized who my true friends were. So who ever I did tell and didn’t judge me were my true and genuine friends.”
Do you foresee yourself starting a non-profit in the future?
“No. I don’t think so, I want to start a fund. I want to give scholarships, I’m trying to find organizations in Mexico, because that’s where I’m from. I want to start a fund that gives scholarships down there. I posted something about that on my art page and someone said something like, why should we give to them they haven’t given us anything back. But we shouldn’t have to get anything in order to give to people, those are my roots and that’s why I want to give back.”
Click here to view the full length documentary: http://www.mtv.com/videos/inocente/1702321/playlist.jhtml