"What's behind that boy you see in South Philly windows" by Jeff Gammage, Staff Writer for Philly Inquirer
Erika Guadalupe Núñez dwells at the intersection of art and resistance.
So when the activist group Juntos needed a bold image to inspire neighborhood solidarity amid unnerving immigration raids — federal authorities snatched 107 people in a single September sweep — it turned to her.
The result: a full-color placard for households to display in their front windows, alerting all, “This home resists.” It anchors a “community resistance zone” that Juntos has launched across a large swath of South Philadelphia.
One side of the poster shows a young Latin boy standing in front of a brick rowhouse, his hand raised as if to say, “Stop.” On the back, in English and Spanish, is a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” if immigration agents or police come pounding on the door.
Tip No. 1: Don’t open the door.
“It speaks across languages,” said Núñez, 26. “It’s community members saying, ‘We have to start looking out for one another.’”
She enveloped the poster boy with an elliptical, blue background, as a way to make him more prominent. But others see the sacred, an outline similar to the aureole that surrounds the Aztec goddess Tonantzin or the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Núñez swears that was unintentional.
Whether secular or religious, that art now hangs in an outsized gallery: The windows and doors of shops and homes from Third Street west to Ninth Street, and Washington Avenue south to Oregon Avenue.
There Juntos has created its first “resistance zone,” a block-by-block effort to oppose the Trump administration’s tough stance on immigration and undocumented immigrants. During one weekend this month, Juntos’ volunteers knocked on 3,000 doors, handing out posters as they went.
They trained people how to protect their rights and those of their neighbors, should they be approached by local police or agents from federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE.
“It was really important to have something you put up in your window, so that when they’re at your door, and they might be banging on the door, that you’re reminded of your rights,” said Juntos Executive Director Erika Almiron. “It was important for community members to see these posters in the windows and know our neighbors and friends have committed to be our allies."