The Perfect American
By Francis Gutierrez
The Perfect American tells the stories of immigrants detained by ICE. Every episode is centered around a different detainee. Each with a different story, a different perspective, and a different relationship with America. In this country, where not everyone qualifies as American, these people deserve a chance to be heard. A chance to prove themselves, to show who they are outside of what the media spews about them. These are the Perfect Americans, the people who strive to be a part of a nation that doesn’t want them.
The format was inspired by the podcast workshop at Girls Write Now, and the idea was inspired by the immigration process I’ve seen in my own life. Immigration is a topic I am very passionate about. I learned how to create an audio story and how to use the app Anchor to produce a story. It was challenging to come up with a script for a podcast trailer that did justice to the topic, yet completing this project was really rewarding. I was very happy to be able to shed light on something that I believe needs change in our government.
Meet the Pair
MENTEE FRANCIS GUTIERREZ & MENTOR ASHNA SHAH
Francis’s Anecdote: I remember being so nervous to meet Ashna, being so scared of whether or not she would like me. Now I can’t even imagine where I would be without her. She pushes me past my limits when it comes to writing, and it has been so inspiring to be able to grow together and find comfort in each other. She is so easy to talk to and so encouraging. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. I am truly grateful to have Ashna in my life. She has made me realize that there is more to life than succeeding; life is about being happy and finding your rightful place.
Ashna’s Anecdote: Don’t underestimate this one; she packs a powerful punch. Francis thinks deeply and writes freely—honesty and bravery driving every word, every turn of phrase. When we first met, we were two introverts at a coffee shop, poring over writing techniques and partner goals. Today, we are two introverts at coffee shops, at book fairs, riding bumper cars. Giving time to the experiences that give us reason to write. I know Francis to be an incredible talent with a warm, magnetic personality. She lives heart-first, and watching her find her voice through writing has been a true joy.
Francis Gutierrez is a Manhattan-raised, young Latina writer with a passion for activism. Her work ranges from self-reflective poetry to informative and analytical journalistic pieces. She hopes to make a difference with her writing and to help others.