1. You may know the song Wake Me Up, by Avicii with vocals by Aloe Blacc. The first video has 125 million views. But Blacc wanted to “reclaim his song” and director Alex Rivera helped him breathe life into a version that tells a family’s immigration story.
The video was done in conjunction with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, which represents 30,000 day laborers.
2. “The song is like an old spiritual hymn,” Rivera told BuzzFeed. “I read the lyrics and tried to come up with a story that reflects the reality of immigration that happens every day.”
3. “Spirituals were used as part of civil rights movements,” he said. “Spiritual yearning is at the core of any political struggle. It’s a hunger that’s underneath politics — a hunger for freedom, to be recognized, to be acknowledged as human.”
4. “The immigrant rights movement is the civil rights movement of our time,” Rivera added. “It’s a movement that has taken mainstream America time to understand.”
5. “The immigrant rights movement is about rescuing the humanity of that story.”
6. “We made a casting call for people that really walked through the desert, people who have stood on a day laborer corner,” Rivera said. “We filled the film with their life’s energy.”
Agustín Chiprez Alvarez is really a day laborer. Margarita Reyes is an actress and producer who was deported with her mother as a child and Hareth Andrade Ayala is an immigrants’ rights leader in Virginia.