Francisco and Roberto Jiménez immigrated to California from Mexico in 1947 when both were young boys. Their parents led them across the border in search of a better life and out of the poverty that was crippling them in rural Mexico. They arrived dreaming of “streets lined with gold” only to find a cruel and brutal life in the migrant labor camps of California. Living in old army tents and following the crops up and down the Central Valley, Francisco and Roberto’s childhood was spent picking cotton, strawberries and grapes instead of playing in a park. They didn’t speak the language and had no friends. They could rely only on their deep faith and devoted parents. In this short film both men remember a Christmas some 60 years ago that defined their family and the experience of so many other migrant worker families in California. Their story is brought to life using interviews, illustrations and family photos.
A Christmas in Tent City is the first of several short films about Francisco, his family and how they managed to escape the migrant worker camps, grow up and get an education while avoiding deportation, and eventually become citizens. To see all of the short docs visit Unknown Hero Stories.