Photojournalist shares thoughts on poverty

Allen Hines

Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist, Don Bartletti, of the Los Angeles Times, spoke last night in the Kiva. The presentation introduced viewers to “The Road Most Traveled,” a photo story about migration. REBECCA MOIDEL| DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Dan Kloock

Migrant workers come to the United States to escape extreme poverty by doing the jobs citizens do not want to do, Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times photojournalist Don Bartletti said while showing some of his pictures last night in the Kiva.

Bartletti’s speech was part of the Gerald H. Read Distinguished Lecture Series called “Village Voices in Your Own Backyard.”

“What pushes people out of Honduras? Well, it’s poverty,” he said. “I went to the poorest part of the poorest city of Tegucigalpa into the local landfill, where children compete with vultures for food.”

Bartletti conveyed his ideas through stories of people he followed along their trips to the United States, such as Willy Ramirez. Bartletti said Ramirez’s father convinced him to leave his new wife in Mexico and cross the U.S.-Mexican border in the 1980s to become a farmer. Ramirez took his family to northern Mexico but hopes to someday legally bring them to the United States. Ramirez now speaks English and has become a U.S. citizen.

Bartletti also told the story of a group of migrant workers from Honduras. He followed the story of one boy, Enrique, through the train routes of Mexico. Enrique was trying to find his mother to find out if she still loved him.

Bartletti showed how the boys hid from police under trains so they weren’t captured and told of the unclean water they sometimes had to drink.

Enrique found his mother in North Carolina, moved in with her and found a job as a painter. After finding out everything her son went through to come here, she wished he hadn’t come.

Bartletti’s presentation was sponsored by the Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education and the College of Education, Health and Human Services.

Contact College of Education, Health and Human Services reporter Allen Hines at [email protected].