Chelsie Simonson

A Journey to Survival


A note about the film:

I have tremendous respect for Gustavo Presidente and his journey. I think it is important to recognize the role of poverty and violence in minority communities and the consequential barriers that many people face. Many Latinos have amazing stories that are overshadowed by popular media. The Latino Roots Project provides a space for those stories to be recognized.

“A Journey to Survival” is the story of Gustavo Presidente and his struggle to overcome situations of violence in his life. Gustavo was born in Los Angeles, California but, until recent years, was the only member of his family to have U.S. citizenship. His family went back and forth between the United States and El Salvador multiple times before settling in the U.S.   The violence during the civil war (1979-1992) made it impossible to stay in El Salvador. Gustavo has been navigating situations of violence and poverty throughout his life and has managed to use his experiences to help individuals with similar experiences.

Gustavo is an outstanding member of the Latino community and, though his experiences have influenced who is today, his struggles are not obvious unless he chooses to share them. These are the stories that need to be heard. While Gustavo has used his experiences to educate himself and to help others, some people are not able to escape cycles of violence and poverty.