Jesús I. Valles (they/them) is a queer Mexican immigrant, educator, writer-performer from Cd. Juarez/El Paso. Jesús is the winner of the 2023 Yale Drama Series selected by Jeremy O. Harris, the winner of the 2022 Kernodle Playwriting Prize, and was named the 2022 Emerging Theatre Professional by the National Theatre Conference. Jesús’ has received fellowships from CantoMundo, Lambda Literary, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Community of Writers, Idyllwild Arts, Undocupoets, and Tin House Scholar. Their work has been featured in The New Republic, Quarterly West, The Adroit Journal, PANK, NPR’s Code Switch, The Slowdown, and the Best New Poets 2020 anthology. Their work appears in the Somewhere We Are Human anthology.
Book by Jesús I. Valles
In the overheated debate about immigration, we often lose sight of the humanity at the heart of this complex issue. The immigrants and refugees living precariously in the United States are mothers and fathers, children, neighbors, and friends. Individuals propelled by hope and fear, they gamble their lives on the promise of America, yet their voices are rarely heard.
This anthology of essays, poetry, and art seeks to shift the immigration debate—now shaped by rancorous stereotypes and xenophobia—towards one rooted in humanity and justice. Through their storytelling and art, the contributors to this thought-provoking book remind us that they are human still. Transcending their current immigration status, they offer nuanced portraits of their existence before and after migration, the factors behind their choices, the pain of leaving their homeland and beginning anew in a strange country, and their collective hunger for a future not defined by borders.
Created entirely by undocumented or formerly undocumented migrants, "Somewhere We Are Human" is a journey of memory and yearning from people newly arrived to America, those who have been here for decades, and those who have ultimately chosen to leave or were deported.