Mizue Aizeki, Visual Artist
Mizue Aizeki is a documentary photographer and social justice organizer based in New York, New York. Aizeki works primarily at the intersection of the criminal justice and immigration system to stop the deportation of immigrants with convictions.
Her photographs have appeared in many publications including Dying to Live: A Story of U. S. Immigration in an Age of Global Apartheid, by Joseph Nevins (City Lights Books, 2008) and in journals and newspapers including Colorlines, The Progressive, L. A. Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, Z Magazine and The Nation. Her projects include Palestinian refugees in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza, immigrant deportees and their families, taxi worker organizing in New York City, and Mexican migrants in New York.
Jordan Bullard, Songwriter / Performer
Jordan Bullard is a singer / songwriter from Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina who lives and works in New York City. He accompanies himself with guitar, cello, and harmonica. He graduated from Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina in 2006. He received a Masters degree in Spanish in May, 2009 from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
After graduating, Bullard spent a year in Agua Prieta, Sonora, México with Frontera de Cristo, a border ministry co-sponsored by the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico and the Presbyterian Church USA. In Agua Prieta, he was US Coordinator of the Migrant Resource Center located outside the Douglas, Arizona, USA port of entry. The Center ministers to migrants who have been deported to México after attempting to cross into the United States. Among other things, it documents human rights abuses experienced by migrants while in custody of US authorities.
In 2010, Bullard recorded a seven song album called Border Songs: Movers, Shakers, and Prayers. His searing, highly-personal songs are documents of his experiences filtered through the Bible and Christianity.
Bullard lent three of them to The Second Cooler. “Commonwealth” interprets a passage from the book of Ephesians and is a prayer of hope that the US will bring down the dividing wall of hostility and be unified as citizens of the community of God. “Geronimo’s Daughter” was inspired by Domitila Geronimo Silva, from Guerrero, Mexico, an indigenous woman who spoke very little Spanish. A Border Patrol agent had hit her in the back with a rifle. While the Migrant Resource Center was documenting the assault, employees of the Mexican Consulate came and documented it as well. They took “a very awkward and sad picture of her. Domitila (Geronimo’s Daughter) was not happy to have her photo taken. The bit about manufactured dreams of men in suits and ties is me addressing the American Dream. Because I saw countless American Dreams dashed while I was on the border. I was feeling helpless. I wanted to communicate my belief that blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God. Why do we continue to hurt them? Why do we not treat people as blessings?” “Birmingham” was recorded for The Second Cooler at Ellin Jimmerson’s request. Bullard wrote it after meeting a guy named Sergio in Agua Prieta who had been a green energy technician in Texas working on windmills. He was married to a US citizen and had two children who were US citizens. He wanted to do the right thing and get his papers in order. He went to the US Embassy in Ciudad Juarez where he was told he could live legally in the US if he returned to Mexico for two years. That meant two years away from his wife, his kids, his work. So he had no option but to cross back into the US. The song was written in the midst of SB 1070 fervor in Arizona which, says Bullard, “very much parallels aspects of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s in Alabama. So the song is a question to the politicians in the US: “Do we really want to do this over again? Do we really want another Birmingham?”
Proceeds from the sale of Border Songs: Movers, Shakers, and Prayers benefit the Migrant Resource Center in Agua Prieta, Sonora, México.
You may contact Jordan Bullard at:
Randal E. Culbreth, Photographer
Randal “Randy” E. Culbreth is a photographer based in Birmingham, Alabama. The city of Birmingham and its history are often the subject of his photos. Culbreth’s collections include 2,000 photographs of stained glass windows in Birmingham and Atlanta churches including the bombed and replaced “Jesus Knocking at the Door” in Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church and the window given by the people of Wales in memory of the four little girls who died in the bombing there. A number of his stained glass window photos have become the subjects of his own compositions.
Other of Culbreth’s collections include extensive photographs of abandoned factories and warehouses c. 1880-1970, Birmingham wall art c. 1900-1960, the geometrical shapes of Birmingham fire escapes, Civil Rights history including 16th Street Baptist Church and the Civil Rights memorial in Kelly Ingram Park, Birmingham historical buildings and architectural details, and nature photographs. He is in the process of documenting Birmingham brothels of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Culbreth’s interest in politics, economics, and the relationship that he, as a child of God, has to marginalized people subtly underlines much of his photographic work. As he has said, “I daily place my life in God’s hands. He chases me down daily to remind me that He loves me, even me, especially me, without qualification.”
As proof of that love, Culbreth has been actively involved as a volunteer or board member of a number of legal clinics, arts community non-profits, and faith-based organizations in Dallas, Atlanta, and Birmingham. “If you want to better your own life,” he says, “improve someone else’s.”
You may contact Randy Culbreth at:
Joseph Harchanko, Score / Cello Performances
Harchanko is an electric cellist and composer based in Salem, Oregon. He has written extensively for traditional instruments, large ensembles, digital media, and film. Harchanko received an ASCAP Film Scoring Fellowship to the Aspen Music Festival and has received fellowships from the Lilly Endowment and the University of Texas. His works have been performed across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia including performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Colourscape installation, France’s Bourges and Videoformes festivals, The Korean Electroacoustic Festival, and New Music Tasmania.
In addition to scoring the documentary, Harchanko mixed the sound for the documentary and produced the film’s CD in his Salem studio, Kroshka Studios, a division of XAP Productions.
You may contact Joe Harchanko at:
Leticia V. Huerta, Visual Artist
Huerta has exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, Texas, the San Antonio Museum of Art, in San Antonio, Texas, the Meadows Museum in Dallas, Texas, and the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi, Texas have collected her work.
Huerta has attended residencies at the McColl Center for the Arts in Charlotte, North Carolina, Coronado Studio in Austin, Texas, Self Help Graphics in Los Angeles, California, and the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont.
Huerta has worked on numerous public art projects, most of them involving the community, design teams, and fabricators. Her completed projects include transit stations in Dallas, Texas for the Dallas Area Transit System, the Charlotte [North Carolina] Area Transit System, and the Phoenix [Arizona] Metro.
In addition to transit projects, Huerta has completed streetscape and park projects including the Hemphill / Berry Urban Village Streetscape Project in Fort Worth, Texas and the Nani Falcone Park Bench Project in San Antonio, Texas.
Huerta’s studio work is in mixed media combining text and images that allude to personal reflection as well as universal themes about identity, love, death, pain and joy. Among her studio work are “A Seed,” “Élégie,” “Mi familia,” “Padre Nuestro,” which she lent to the Huntsville Immigration Initiative, LLC for inclusion in The Second Cooler.
Huerta is a native San Antonian. Her family dates back several generations in San Antonio and Brownsville, Texas. She maintains a studio and home outside of San Antonio.
You may contact Leticia Huerta at
Michael Hyatt, Photographer
Michael Hyatt’s interest in photography began in 1968 after he saw the documentary work of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. This led to an active eleven-year period doing street photography in Boston and Los Angeles. His portfolios from this period focus on Boston’s Italian neighborhood and on the residents and transients in and around the Chapman Hotel at the corner of 5th & Wall Street in Los Angeles.
In 1979 Hyatt spent a month photographing in Ireland. While there he photographed the all-female Irish punk rock band, The Boy Scouts, which inspired him to pursue the Los Angeles music scene upon his return. Within the month he began documenting the performances and backstage activities of the prominent punk rock and roots rock bands of the era including X, The Blasters, and Los Lobos. Hyatt also documented the fascinating and visually stimulating audience for this music.
Between 1986, when he moved to Arizona, and 2002, he photographed a variety of subject matters. Then in October, 2002, Hyatt began documenting the efforts of Humane Borders, the volunteer organization that places water stations in the desert to help prevent migrant deaths, and lobbying for more humane border policies. A year later, he began documenting the humanitarian work of Samaritans, a group which takes food, water, and first aid supplies onto the migrant trails, and of the No More Deaths coalition of migrant relief groups.
During this period, the University of Arizona Press invited Hyatt to photograph Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument west of Tucson on the US / Mexico border for its Desert Places book series. The result was Organ Pipe–Life on the Edge, published in August, 2004.
Soon after, The University of Arizona Special Collections, associated with The Center for Creative Photography, commissioned Hyatt to produce a limited edition box set of photographs. Hyatt’s contribution was Along the Migrant Trail which contains thirteen gelatin silver prints sized 4″ X 5″. The set is displayed in a jewel box with a cover sleeve, list of photographs, and a booklet describing the work illustrated with three additional photographs.
In May, 2007, The University of British Columbia awarded Hyatt and cultural geographer Juanita Sundburg a Hampton Research Fund Grant titled Documenting New Cultural Landscapes of Immigration in the United States-Mexico Borderlands.
The same month, Great Circle Books in Los Angeles published Hyatt’s monograph Migrant Artifacts: Magic and Loss in the Sonoran Desert. In April, 2008, it won an annual Eric Hoffer Independent Book Publishing Award in the category of Art. Photographer’s Forum included the book’s cover photograph in its Annual–Best of 2009.
To view Hyatt’s award winning book Migrant Artifacts: Magic & Loss in the Sonoran Desert go to Photography, then Books at:
Valarie Lee James
Valarie James is a sculptor, writer and Benedictine Oblate from the Arizona/Mexico border, specializing in Contemplative Arts. She has designed and created public memorials that mark those who have died in the desert crossing the U.S./Mexico border and most recently, a collaborative International Installation on the hardship and hopes of family and migration.
In 2005, James and her colleagues created “The Mothers; Las Madres/No Mas Lagrimas; No More Tears” Memorial figure sculptures on the Main (East) Campus of Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ. In 2007, James along with sculptor Antonia Gallegos, mounted “The Migrant Shrine; El Santuario Migratorio” at Tucson’s Southside Presbyterian Church. Both public art installations were created from found denim and burlap, plaster, concrete and steel. Currently (2010 – 2012), the installation: “Hardship and Hope: Crossing the U.S. Mexico border, a found object assemblage created by James and Gallegos can be viewed at “Destination X,” an exhibit on world-wide migration at the Museum of World culture in Goteburg, Sweden.
Classically trained in Pietrasanta, Italy and the Academy of Art in San Francisco among others, James is a former Art Therapist and Sculpture Instructor. She and her art have been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Fiber Arts Magazine, Italy’s Corriere della Sera, and on Univison in Miami to name a few and the artist’s own border arts essays have been published in the Hummingbird Review and Science of Mind.
Microwave Dave, Songwriter / Performer
Microwave Dave is an Alabama traditional blues musician who, with his band, “The Nukes,” has an international following. Writer Stephen King ended his seven year column on popular art in Entertainment Weekly by writing, “I want to beg you to . . . [go to YouTube and] check out Microwave Dave and the Nukes blasting ‘Highway 49’. . . .That electric slide will change your way of life.”
Over the course of his career, Microwave has developed a solo electric blues style utilizing real-time loop accompaniment. His bio includes such legends as producer Johnny Sandlin, artists Aretha Franklin, Bo Diddley, and Johnny Shines, and such awards as Canada’s REAL BLUES 2003 Southern Blues Guitarist of the Year / Modern.
In 2003, The Nukes’ album, “Atomic Electric,” won awards in Canada’s REAL BLUES competition in the Southern Blues Releases and Southern Blues Band categories, and Microwave Dave was named “2003 Southern Blues Guitarist of the Year/Modern.” In 2004, Microwave Dave’s LoweBow instrumental, “Trail of Tears,” was nominated in the “Best Other Instrument” category by Nashville’s Music City Blues Society.
The Huntsville Immigration Initiative, LLC commissioned Microwave Dave to do two pieces for The Second Cooler which he provided enthusiastically and pro-bono.
The resulting “Why Did You Take My Job?”, a song in the modern country blues idiom, expresses real anger over the recklessness of corporations and politicians who just can’t get enough, coveting even blue collar workers’ factory jobs. His Ry Cooder influenced Lowebow instrumental, “Guests Who Work,” suggests the alarming nature of the Federal guest worker program.
You may contact Microwave Dave Gallaher at
Barbara Mitchell, Textile Artist
Barbara Mitchell has sewn and stitched most of her life. She has taken courses in drawing, watercolor, acrylics, and art history.
Mitchell’s medium is fabric and fibers. She makes contemporary art quilts, clergy stoles, liturgical banners, fiber-wrapped wall hangings, and one-of-a-kind purses.
All Mitchell’s designs are original. They include such abstract designs as “Everything is Not Always in Black and White” and such representational designs as “Exploring Turtle Island.” Others, such as “Eclipse: Moving Through the Darkness,” which was included in the Sacred Threads biennial exhibition outside Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2011, are cross-over pieces which can be interpreted literally or experientially.
God’s creation, travel, archetypes, and literature all influence her work. Mitchell’s goal is to bring awareness of God’s love and the beauty of God’s creation to the viewer. She exhibits her work in juried art shows in the Southeast, primarily in Alabama.
Early in 2011, The Huntsville Immigration Initiative, LLC commissioned a piece of fiber art for The Second Cooler. Ellin Jimmerson wanted her to help interpret the devastating impact of the Central American Free Trade Agreement on the once-thriving textile industry in Fort Payne, Alabama. Reflecting her interest in architecture, she conceived and executed “Transitions,” which interprets a sock factory moving from a brightly lit building to a closed and dark one.
Mitchell’s website is www.barbara-mitchell.com.
You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alberto Morackis (1959-2008), Visual Artist
Alberto Morackis was a muralist, painter, and illustrator in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. He was a principal artist at Nogales’s important Taller Yonke (Junk Workshop). He exhibited individually and collectively in Mexico and the United States. He received numerous honors from the Sonora Culture Institute and the US / Mexico border art competition “Ford-Pollock-Suigueiros” funded by the National Council for Culture and the Ford Foundation. He was a member of Nogales’s Municipal Council for Culture and Arts from 1999-2000.
With his business parter, Guadalupe Serrano, Morackis designed, executed, and installed “Paseo de Humanidad,” a serious of painted aluminum cut-outs detailing aspects of migrant crossing experiences. It is affixed to the Mexican side of the U. S. border wall at Nogales. A portion was recently re-located to the Karin Newby Gallery in Tubac, Arizona, USA.
His sculpture, “Border Dynamics” also done in collaboration with Serrano, is located on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, USA.
Only a few weeks after we interviewed him in his studio, Morackis died unexpectedly of pneumonia. Our interview was his final one.
Pablo, Songwriter / Performer
Tucson’s “Pablo” is a third-generation tile artist, troubadour, and volunteer with Humane Borders, a group which legally places water for migrants in Arizona’s Sonora Desert. When he performs, he always wears a migrant’s bandana which he has found in the desert. Of the habit he says, “I wear them because they carry the spirit of my people–the brown Aztecs, Mayans and all the other indigenes, some who survive and some who perish in our back yard–the unforgiving desierto.” He lent two of his songs to The Second Cooler and a third to the documentary’s CD.
With his strong, poignant falsetto, Pablo’s searing “A Migrant’s Sufrimiento” is a prayer for survival in the treacherous Sonora Desert.
His chilling “Run, Run, Run” seems to allude to the children’s nursery rhyme while referencing the dangers of the “coyotes’ domain.”
One of Pablo’s newest songs, “Josseline,” is a bonus track on The Second Cooler’s CD. Tucson artist Nanette Robinson provided the lyrics. Telling the story of the death of 14 year old El Salvadoran migrant, Josseline Jamileth Hernández Quintero, who died cold and alone in the Sonora Desert, the song is about state-sponsored stolen childhoods.
You may contact Pablo at email@example.com.
Alfred Quíroz, Visual Artist
Quíroz is Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, USA. His contemporary narrative paintings have been exhibited internationally and reviewed by many magazines including Art in America, Artforum and many others. His satirical paintings are noted for his outraged attention to murderous injustices including the killing fields of Cambodia, rafters of Haitians drowning in the Caribbean Sea, and people “disappeared” by their own governments in South America. For many years, his aluminum cutouts detailing certain realities of illegal migration were on the U.S. border wall on the Mexican side in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.
Sarah Reynolds, Visual Artist
Reynolds is a radio producer and multimedia storyteller. She produces stories for public radio and specializes in digital storytelling, devising and producing multimedia for the non-profit sector as a way of improving the receptivity and messaging of an organization’s work, building arsenals of stories that often go untold.
Reynolds worked in labor law as an investigator before making the move to radio and multimedia documentary. A large body of her investigative and documentary work has focused on immigrant communities around the U.S. and has been published in numerous reports by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Brennan Center for Justice and the Center for American Progress. In 2009, Sarah won a Project Censored Award for her investigative work on Close to Slavery: Guestworker Programs in the United States. Her multimedia work on migrant farmworkers was also chosen for screening at the Women and Minorities in Media Festival in 2011.
Reynolds formally trained in radio at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies after which she worked with Atlantic Public Media on Cape Cod and with the Peabody Award winning Transom.org, while reporting for the local NPR station, WCAI. She has also reported, written and produced for the WNYC newsroom and for the New York Press Club Award winning political news website, WNYC’s It’s a Free Country.
Her work has taken her around the globe and has been aired on NPR’s All Things Considered and Weekend Edition and other national programs including Studio 360 and The Story. She has taught radio with WNYC’s Radio Rookies, a youth radio project in New York City, the Transom Story Workshop and at the Polytechnic Institute of NYU.
Guadalupe Serrano Quiñones, Painter, Sculptor
Guadalupe Serrano lives in Nogales, Sonora, México where he is an active muralist, painter, and illustrator. He is a member of Nogales’ highly-regarded “Taller Yonke” or Junk Workshop. Serrano produces art for public, urban spaces. Among the Workshop’s most significant works are the highly colored, mixed media series depicting migration issues installed on the Méxican side of the United States Department of Homeland Security’s corrugated metal and barbed wire fence which divides the US from Mexico. The series was co-produced with the late Alberto Morackis. His “Border Dynamics,” a metal sculpture now on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson, also was co-produced with Morackis. Serrano was a member of the Nogales Municipal Council for Culture and Arts, 1999-2000. He won the State of Sonora Culture Institute’s Plastic Arts contest in 1996 and 1997. Bill Schweikert’s photos of these works, as well as of Taller Jonke’s mural depicting the Mexican countryside were the starting points for the look of The Second Cooler.
Serrano later generously donated the use of his paintings, “Untitled (with Angels and Border Wall),” “Untitled (with Helicopter and Border Dogs),” and “Juan Soldado.”
Joel Smith, Photographer
Photographer Joel Smith is a United States Air Force brat and Marine Corps veteran.
He resides in his place of birth, Tucson, Arizona, USA. Currently, he is Operations Manager for Humane Borders, a 501 C-3 non-profit organization which places emergency water stations on routes used by migrants coming north through the Sonora Desert.
You may contact Joel Smith and find out more about Humane Borders at
Tony Zapata “El Descendiente,” Songwriter / Performer
Tony Zapata is a hip hop artist living in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. He was born in Monclova, Coahuila, Mexico, a city located three hours from Mexico’s border with Texas, USA. His family moved to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico looking for better economic opportunites. When things didn’t work out, and they became increasingly concerned about the violence of the border, the family migrated to Georgia, USA. Later, they moved to Alabama which, they felt, was a friendlier state to live in.
Zapata’s music is a way of life with him. It is how he expresses himself and how he communicates with the Hispanic community. In his music, he takes on real-life issues, especially how Latinos like him face life in the USA. His songs are about discrimination, life on the streets, poverty, education–in short, every day struggles.
So, although Zapata’s music is about and for Latinos, he also believes it is universal in that it addresses the struggles of all kinds of people of all ages.
His CDs are Real Revolution and El momento esperado [The Awaited Moment].
You can buy them at:
You can listen to them on i tunes at:
You may contact Tony Zapata at: