The Bakersfield College Undocumented Student Action Week hosted Yehimi Cambron

An original mural by artist, Yehimi Cambron titled “Here to Stay: Education is Liberation Monarch” constructed in April 2019.

Hugo Maldonado Garcia, Senior Digital Editor

Undocumented Student Action Week, (USAW) Bakersfield College hosted artist, activist, public speaker, and entrepenuer Yehimi Cambron on Oct. 22.

The topic of conversation was immigration, DACA, art and her work as an activist. Cambron was born in a small town in Michoacan Mexico. She moved to the United States, undocumented, when she was seven years old when her family chose to leave everything behind to start a better life in Atlanta.

Cambron knew art and painting was what she was excellent at when her piece was chosen for third place $50 prize. However, Cambron did not receive any prize because of her undocumented status.

“My teacher had my mom and my sister and me sit down, said ‘I’ll be right back, I’m going to  go claim your prize,’ as she leaves, she comes back a few moments later  empty-handed. Then she tells me that they couldn’t award me the $50 prize because I didn’t have a social security number, ” Cambron stated.

However, she did not let this setback stop her. Years later, Cambron got the opportunity to construct her first mural at a place called Havana sandwich shop. “Havana sandwich shop is where my mom first worked when we immigrated here. And so, I wanted to paint a mural of my mom, and the owners did not like that, they didn’t want a specific face on the mural,” she stated.

Cambron then pitched the idea of painting a Monarch Butterfly to represent the symbolism of higher education, DACA recipients, and undocumented immigrants.

“On a Wednesday, my brother called me to tell me they had painted over the mural. It’s their wall, it’s a Cuban sandwich shop but it’s white-owned, and so they have the privilege to remain neutral on this issue because it doesn’t impact their humanity, but I don’t have that privilege. I cannot be neutral on something that’s directly related to the humanity of my community,” Cambron continued,

With many setbacks, Cambron was determined to make a change.

“When the pandemic hit, I found myself in a very privileged position because I was able to focus on one of my largest murals. In partnership with the City of Kaysville, I received a grant that I applied for from the National Endowment for the Arts. It’s where I painted a mural that was community responsive,” she said

One of her most famous projects was painting a mural by the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia in 2019 during the time of the Super Bowl.