Forsyth Technical Community College hosted a presentation Monday by Saul Flores. In 2010, Flores – then a student at North Carolina State University- decided to walk the path his mother took when she migrated to the U.S. The result was a 5,328 mile journey that took him to his mother's hometown in southern Mexico and his father's hometown in El Savador.
Both of his parents were illegal immigrants, and Flores said he wanted to bring awareness to social and cultural issues facing Latin Americans and the migrant community in the U.S. He took more than 20,000 pictures during his walk and chronicled the journey on a blog.
"It was my hope to educate and create a sense of empathy through photography, through images," Flores said. "And essentially to use those images to rebuild the school in my mother's hometown.”
The work to refurbish the school was completed in May. Kimberly Gonzalez was among the students who heard Flores speak. He parents are from El Salvador, but are in the United States legally. She said Flores' talk convinced her that young people could make a difference on issues such as immigration.
"It's a big issue that we haven't really solved as a country," she said. "And I just wish something could be passed to say you could be in the country a couple of years, become a citizen - and if you can't you have to go back. ...Something like that would be nice to have.”
A selection of Flores' work has been compiled in an exhibit that is planned to be shown nationally. A link to that exhibit can be found here.