This June marked the second annual Immigrant Heritage Month in the U.S. It is dedicated to honoring those who bring vibrant diversity to communities across the U.S.

In an effort to shift the conversation about immigrants in this country, the Carlos Rosario School began a project to feature immigrant voices with images and stories from immigrants themselves. Over the course of three months conversation circles and individual interviews led students in thinking about their identities, their stories, and what they bring to this country.

The project culminated in a photo shoot led by student Mike Fuentes. The resulting portraits were exhibited for the first time during graduation.

“I hope that by bringing these stories to light people will have a better perspective of the contributions that immigrants bring to this country, and all that they have to go through in order to acquire their goals and ambitions,” said Mike.

Elevating Our Voices aimed to empower students to tell a different narrative about immigrants in their own words. It put the power in the students’ hands to select how they wanted others to see them and what they wanted to showcase about who they are. You can see photos of the students and their quotes here.