Heldáy de la Cruz is a Mexican illustrator, designer, and activist based in Portland, OR. Born in Jalisco, Mexico, Heldáy and his family immigrated to Oregon when he was just 2 years old. He is a recipient of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) - an immigration policy that provides undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children eligibility to legally live and work in the U.S.
As a queer, Mexican, undocumented individual, Heldáy's work offers a unique perspective on life in the United States. Heavily influenced by his experience, his work explores the intersectionality of the multiple communities he lives in and identifies with.
Increasingly, Heldáy has been using his art as a platform for social change. He has been inspired into activism by the 2016 election, his experience volunteering at Standing Rock Reservation protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, and his own threatened status given the uncertain future of the DACA program. Heldáy explained in a recent interview with AIGA Portland, “I almost feel like everything that I post or talk about needs to be politically or socially relevant now. I definitely feel like my own priorities have shifted.”
True to that statement, in the past few years Heldáy has spoken at rallies protesting the elimination of DACA, organized an art show to support DACA defense, and helped to put on a Portland music festival supporting Pueblo Unido - a Portland Charity providing legal defense for undocumented immigrants facing deportation.
THE DESIGN: "REMEMBER YOU ARE ON STOLEN LAND"
Heldáy created "Remember You Are On Stolen Land" as a daily reminder that we cannot move forward without first acknowledging our past. He explained, "We all must remember that the land we live on was not 'discovered,' but rather stolen from the indigenous people who settled here first. An 'outlaw' in the general sense, is someone who has committed a crime, and this entire nation must not forget that it is guilty of being established through the genocide and robbery of native people."
Heldáy's hope is that this bandana is one we can all wear toownthat history, as much as it may hurt. It is only through remembering the evils and transgressions of the past that we may all move forward without repeating them.
"Remember You Are On Stolen" land was Heldáy's submission to, and the landslide winner of, our "Outlaw Collection" Design Contest. His design scored nearly 50% of the final voting, nearly doubling the votes received by the next-closest design. We think it's clear that in his design work, just like in his activist work, when Heldáy has something to say - people pay attention.
THE CHARITY: PUEBLO UNIDO PDX (PORTLAND, OR)
Pueblo Unido PDX is a Portland-based organization that provides legal counseling services and client advocacy for immigrants facing deportation. The organization connects individuals with skilled legal representatives to help them build their case against removal.
Founded in 2017 and powered by volunteers, community members, organizations, and local businesses, Pueblo Unido has succeeded in getting 5 clients from the Portland community released from detention and reunited with their families.
As a Mexican immigrant living in Portland, Pueblo Unido holds special significance to Heldáy and the vulnerable communities he works so tirelessly to protect. BANDITS is honored to help support Heldáy, Pueblo Unido, and their ongoing fight for the essential human rights of ALL people.