Meet the Genius Who Created the Immigration and Migrant Worker Meme That Set Facebook on Fire

Feb 3, 2012
4:01 PM

It was this immigration and migrant worker meme that got the Latino Rebels Facebook page over 37,000 likes and more than 31,000 shares in just a few days. This same picture also was the inspiration of many blog posts, including a feature piece in the Huffington Post's Latino Voices. We have always wanted to know WHO was the genius behind this picture, and today we FINALLY met the person behind it: LJL. (BTW, LJL, we owe your several Negra Modelos or whatever drink you choose.)

After we shared the following photo again today, the photo's creator identified himself. We are glad he did.

Why did you create the photo?

I originally saw the attached photo (see the original below), which appeared on my Facebook news feed. Immediately, I saw what was needed… the Jesus – Jesús connection. I knew that would make it more powerful, with a wry twist of humor. So I found two appropriate pictures, one of which was the same one they found for the original, and made it using Lolbuilder. I had a sense that it would be widely shared, so I added my initials, "LJL," on the bag, left foreground, to preserve my bragging rights.


How did it get online? Where did you post it originally?

I posted it on my Facebook page, and I might have posted it on a couple of other pages, but don't remember, now. I never posted it anywhere but on Facebook, though.

We got the photo from a reader who shared it with us and we shared it with our community. It took off on Facebook. Why do you think that happened?

I think it happened because of the truth of the stark contrast between they way people think about how they obtain their life-sustaining essentials, and the work, the privation, the struggles involved in the reality… and the humor. 

Did you ever think this photo would create such buzz and a debate about what is represents?

I had a feeling that it was something that would speak to people, that it had a strong, clear message, but I didn't, and still don't know about any debate regarding its meaning. To me, it's completely unambiguous.

What do you think of the debate and comments being shared about the photo?

I guess I'll have to look, now, and see what this debate is about.

Excuse me a moment.

Ok, I'm back. Whoa. There are a lot of the things one typically sees in an open forum: gratitude, insight, ignorance, nitpicking, cluelessness, wisdom.

Some argued about whether the worker's name was Jesus, which caused me to roll my eyes. Some defended the picture, while referring to farm workers as "illegals." To me, "illegal" is an adjective, not a noun.

The discussions of people's attitudes toward migrant farm workers was mostly welcome — we need more understanding of these issues, and that's a big part of what motivated me to make the image. 

Also seen in the threads is hateful, scornful, hurtful racism, typically coming from white, "Christian" Americans. Jesus Christ would weep at encountering this, I have no doubt.

So, upon reflection, I see that maybe what motivated me to express myself this way is as a response to the Christianists who wish to dominate the planet with their essentially non-Christian views of exclusion, subjugation, and entitlement. They "give all glory to God," while not understanding the value of anything else, of any other way of thinking, or even the value of the Earth upon which we all live.

Can social media help someone spread their message?

Is this a trick question??

Feel free to share a mini-bio of yourself and links to your web sites, blogs, anything else.

I'm a 60-year-old guy, married, three kids, and I live in the Maryland 'burbs.