“I Am Orange County” originated as a 2005 technology grant students program to further social justice.
Orange County Children's Therapeutic Arts Center and Orange County Human Relations worked with at-risk youth in four Santa Ana schools.
The students created a 30-minute documentary, photo essays and a website about their experience.
Barraged with TV images of Orange County representing the rich and the wealthy (Laguna Beach on MTV, The OC on Fox, Arrested Development on Fox, OC Housewives on Bravo), the silent majority explored its identity.
The students in Santa Ana have awoken.
Their documentary expresses strongly and very positively what their lives are about.
They address prejudice and immigration, life in the OC as part of the hardworking and neglected majority.
They documented the immigration marches in Los Angeles and Santa Ana.
Their personal stories are positive. These students, all classified "at-risk" at the start of the project have moved on to academic success. They feel pride in who they are and they are empowered.
This project, filmed in 2005, has gained new relevance as Santa Ana residents continue to struggle with immigration politics and gang violence in 2017.