A film by Jenny Alexander
“The Vigil” is the story of those who are not considered American, making American history.
On April 23, 2010, Arizona’s governor signed into law America’s “toughest” immigration law. The law would go into effect in three months, making it a crime for immigrants to not carry proof of their immigration status and requiring police to investigate the status of people who, within “reasonable suspicion” might be undocumented.
On the same capitol grounds where legislators passed the law, a small group of immigrant women set up a makeshift altar with a Virgin of Guadalupe, the Mexican Virgin Mary. They gathered there everyday, all day under the desert sun for over three months- vowing to stay there to stop the law from going to effect.
“The Vigil” tells the story of Gina, an undocumented single mother and small business owner, who risks everything when she joins the vigil to stop the law. The film follows her journey from living in fear and focusing only on survival to becoming a leader of a vigil on one of the toughest battlegrounds in America over immigration- Arizona. It is a story told from the point of view of Gina and the small group of determined immigrant women who join her to transform the vigil into a refuge for their community in the midst of the clash over Arizona’s groundbreaking anti-immigration law, Senate Bill 1070. Through the lens of the women’s ritualized vigil, the film reveals how faith and longstanding cultural traditions create a sense of hope for a community at the epicenter of a political firestorm.
Producer: Jenny Alexander
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