Undocumented Storytellers at the Writers Guild Initiative

Sheridan Aguirre Blog


Photo Credit: Kathryn Suellentrop Photography

In 2018, United We Dream embarked on a journey with the Writers Guild Initiative to connect authors, poets, and screenplay writers with immigrant youth to mentor them on creative writing and storytelling.

Thirteen writers attended two weekend workshops to tell the stories they’ve never told before — and not just on immigration. Writers put into words their experiences with anxiety and romance, they wrote about magic, sexuality, and home. From poems and to short stories, to postcards and dialogue, immigrant youth were able to unravel the worlds that lived within them.

We were also joined by the Soul Sisters Collective, who opened and closed the writing spaces and provided mental, emotional, and spiritual support all throughout.

Our very own Deya Aldana was selected to have her poems performed at the Writers Guild Initiative’s Annual Benefit Gala in March. We look forward to another year of working together and another cohort of immigrant writers!

Below, one of Deyanira’s many poems performed that night:

What is home?
What is it about a postal address
that screams home instead of house ?
Is it the smell
Always invisible to the host
But, distinct to the guest
Or is it the way the stairs creek
The same way every time you return
How they give you away after every night out Maybe the way paint slowly fades
After years of living
After countless lights left on for far to long
Or the echo of the walls
Filled with laughter and family secrets Choking with painful cries
Is it the way the kitchen fills with warmth
After every holiday meal is cooked
When the table meant for four fits the whole family It could be the people?
That regardless of which four walls they are in Can always make something and nothing into home

(Top) Deya poses with her two mentors Susanna Styron & Adam Brooks. (Bottom)  Deya along with more mentors of the Writers Guild Initiative.