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CEC | World Day of Social Justice Exhibition

February 5 - March 22


February 5th to March 22nd, 2024
Located in Scott Hall Lobby

Foreign-born soldiers have served the United States since the revolutionary War. The French Marquis de Lafayette, the German Fredrich von Steuben, and the West Indian Alexander Hamilton are just three examples of foreign-born soldiers who fought in George Washington’s Continental Army.

This exhibition seeks to create a visual space in which some of these deported veterans not only recover their denied citizenship but also expose the damage inflicted on them by unjust government policies. From Mexico to the Dominican Republic to England to Costa Rica, veterans proudly display the objects that confirm their American citizenship. They want to remind us that their struggle to gain citizen status is a struggle for social justice.

These soldiers’ dedication to their country matches or surpasses the commitment of the native-born. Their honorable service, however, has been rewarded with dishonorable actions – denial of citizenship, unceremonious deportation, and hardships faced by the veterans and their families.

Today the country has approximately 700,000 foreign-born veterans, 45,000 active members, and each year 5,000 new immigrants join the military. As of 2018, 17 percent of those foreign-born veterans have not been naturalized.

Since the passing of the illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility act in 1996, the United States has deported thousands of non-citizen military veterans. These veterans are generally childhood arrivals to the United States with legal permanent resident status, who have a criminal record.

Information about Joseph’s Artist Talk will be available on our website: https://www.pitzer.edu/cec/pillars-of-engagement/direct_action_pz/direct-action-events/


“You don’t leave your shipmate on the beach, leave no man behind.” – the Soldier’s Creed

Joseph Silva is a United States Navy Veteran and Documentary Fine Art Photographer. As of 2021, he has shot a couple hundred rolls of film and filled multiple hard drives. He has invested 6 years of his life to raising awareness of the deportation of veterans from the United States Military. He has traveled to the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, and North America documenting deported veterans. He spent extended time with these Veterans and their families, so that he might share their stories.

In partnership with the Community Engagement Center’s Direct Action pillar and Pitzer College Art Galleries

A Community Engagement Center “25 Days of Community Engagement” event in celebration the CEC’S 25th Anniversary