Jeanette Vizguerra may not be able to attend the gala honoring her as one of TIME’s most influential people of 2017, but she’ll be speaking right here in Denver tonight, at the church that she can’t leave for fear of deportation.
Vizguerra will be one of the storytellers performing with the Romero Theater Troupe at First Unitarian Society, where she has taken sanctuary. The event will cover legal costs for Vizguerra and for Ingrid Latorre.
Also speaking is Bianca Acosta, a young and undocumented immigrant whom Denverite previously profiled. Acosta, a poet, is a permanent part of the troupe.
“I was taking this U.S. history course at UNC (University of Northern Colorado). I was not excited about it,” she said. As it turned out, she said, Dr. James Walsh’s class taught history from the “bottom up … from the people, from the slaves.”
Walsh also told her about his student theater troupe. “And I wrote a poem,” she said. “And for the first time, somebody told me that I had power in my voice. Before that, I had never spoken in public.”
After joining the troupe, she performed her poem for larger and larger people, from 15 people in a workshop to 500 at a high school.
The troupe will perform from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today, April 21, at First Unitarian Society of Denver, at 1400 Lafayette Street.
No one will be turned away, but the group requests a minimum $10 donation.