Transmedia Testimonio: Examining Undocumented Youth’s Political Activism in the Digital Age

Arely Zimmerman


Undocumented youth activists, otherwise known as DREAMers, have drawn attention for the ways they use and deploy new media in challenging anti-immigrant policies and making various claims to rights. In this article, I focus on “coming out” events wherein undocumented youth declare their undocumented legal status at protests and meetings and through social media, including digital videos, blogs, and podcasts. I refer to these events as forms of transmedia testimonio in which activists give accounts of their immigration experiences, reveal their legal status, and document their participation in civil disobedience. Through the concept of transmedia testimonio, I demonstrate how undocumented youth broaden the boundaries of public space beyond the confines of formal and state-sanctioned public spheres. By doing so, undocumented youth can use the testimonio to make claims to citizenship as new rights-bearing subjects, even if the state has not legitimized or recognized them as such. This article adds to the literature on how face-to-face activism interweaves with online activism, understanding media tactics from the vantage point of activists.


activism, youth, undocumented immigrants, testimonio, transmedia organizing

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