'Who Is Dayani Cristal?': Offering Resources for the Movement

, is an intimate examination of the journey of one migrant who perished in the Arizona desert, far from his native Honduras, with no real identification but a name tattooed over his heart
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I have been honored to serve as the social impact director and transmedia producer for the Sundance-award winning documentary Who is Dayani Cristal?, which is now available to view via iTunes, Netflix, and Fandor, as well as nationwide screenings. To support advocates' work in migrants' rights and immigration policy, which this film explores, the social impact team has developed a number of social impact tools. We are opening these tools up to all who want to make a positive difference for migrants and immigration. (The tools are free, but we ask that they not be remixed or used to create derivative works without our permission.)

Who is Dayani Cristal?, is an intimate examination of the journey of one migrant who perished in the Arizona desert, far from his native Honduras, with no real identification but a name tattooed over his heart. The documentary was produced by and features Gael Garcia Bernal. The film weaves together real-life attempts to identify the migrant's body with Bernal's retracing of the journey he would have most likely taken through the "corridor del muerte" to reach the U.S. with hopes of improving the lives of his family. Employing a series of digital tools with interactive features, including the ability of migrants to post their own border stories on the project's website, Who Is Dayani Cristal drives audiences moved by the story to delve deeper into and take action on the issues that drive migrants to brave perilous conditions in order to reach the U.S. The team has already begun having impact and we believe we can extend the impact of our tools and further support the movement by offering the tools to you for your own work.

Below are several resources for viewers and facilitators to use in classroom syllabi, community screenings or small group discussions:

Explore the complex issues surrounding migration in greater detail with the Who is Dayani Cristal interactive
). This interactive book extends the story to the stories of many, and to analysis of the systemic issues that impact their journeys, providing readers a deeper investigation into policy frameworks that affect the lives of migrants and border communities such as those found in "Who Is Dayani Cristal?"

This toolkit is designed to give you the tools to join our campaign. Each of the toolkit's modules stands on its own and can be used when implementing a specific type of event for various audiences. See PDF document under Screenings on website.


on the "Who is Dayani Cristal?" website. Migration is a complex issue, and understanding systems affecting migration will help stop deaths in the desert. The website therefore includes section designed with NGO partners to include resources - videos, images, NGO reports, and dedicated essays - as well as ways to take action for the following sections:

Most migrants from Central America leave their homes because they simply have no other choice. There is little opportunity in their home countries for income or economic security, limited access to basic services or education, little hope of advancement - and as Dr. Bruce Anderson says, "we are dangling the carrot" of jobs in the US. A cross-border, cross-sector effort to work towards economic sustainability and access to services and education is essential to providing the viable choices to would-be migrants to stay home if they so choose.

Essay: Why do people leave their homes and travel north to the US-Mexico border? by Mario Bronfman, Ford Foundation

The US-Mexico border has become one of the most dangerous places on earth for people traveling on foot. At this point, it is at its most militarized in US history. The need for a secure border has become a condition of comprehensive immigration policy. The need for the US to adhere to a border policy that doesn't result in avoidable human deaths is dire.

Essay: A Humane Border by Dan Martinez, George Washington University

Migrants crossing over the US-Mexico border by foot often carry no identification or carry false papers to avoid endangering themselves or their families. If a migrant dies and is found on the US side of the border, it becomes the responsibility of border counties to investigate identity.

Essay: Naming the Dead by Robin Reineke, the Colibri Center for Human Rights

Under current US policy, the number of immigrant detentions and deportations has skyrocketed. Migrants who are apprehended are detained without representation or contact with their families, sometimes for weeks and months.

Essay: 2:00 A.M. in Matamoros: Dangerous Deportations along the US-Mexico Border by Maureen Meyer, WOLA

"They steal our jobs." The story about migrants and immigrants we often tell ourselves is that immigration leads to job loss for Americans. But political and economic experts, regardless of ideological leanings, have acknowledged this is simply a myth.

Essay: Coming to America: Land of Opportunity and Obstacles by the National Council of La Raza

The journey from Central America through Mexico to the US border is the most dangerous foot journey in the world. Migrants can fall prey to illness, dehydration, exposure, injury, accident, coyotes, drug cartels, smugglers, traffickers, and violence.

Essay: Safety through Mexico by Padre Alejandro Solalinde, Ixtepec Shelter

Dayani Cristal's story is not the only one. We invite you to share your own stories, thoughts and prayers. We'll attach them to the US-Mexico border wall.
There are people working to support migrants at every stage of their journey. They need your help.

This page will allow you to file a missing person report with the Colibrí Center for Human Rights. All information collected in this form is confidential and all precaution will be taken to maintain your privacy. Colibrí will not release names, phone numbers, or identifiable information to outside agencies without your permission. The Colibrí Center for Human Rights is not a law enforcement entity. We collect information only to assist families searching for a missing loved one.

This post was prepared with assistance from the "Who Is Dayani Cristal?" social impact team.

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