Samantha Caldes – Journey to Freedom: We’re No Longer Afraid

Visual Communication

Samantha Caldes, first generation Cuban-American


As a first generation
Cuban-American, I wanted to tell a universal story that resonated with thousands of people who have lived through the corruption in Cuba for 62 years.

My father immigrated to the United States by plane when he was just 17 years old in hope for a better life. My cousin as well as many others weren’t as fortunate and had to flee by sea on a makeshift raft. Although no longer in effect (1995-2017), The Wet Feet, Dry Feet policy allowed people to apply for residency a year after stepping onto U.S. soil.

Many sacrificed and left all they knew behind for the hope of freedom, human rights, and posterity. Since 1959, the people in Cuba have been censored, severely punished or imprisoned just for thinking and speaking differently of the government. February 2021, Cuban artists Yotuel, Gente De Zona, Descemer Bueno, Maykel Osorbo, and El Funky wrote an anthem called Patria y Vida (homeland and life) which sparked a movement among the people which went viral July 11, 2021.

(If click on links, make sure to put on closed captions and/or click google translate to be able to listen/read in English).

Project Summary:

If you were to search on the internet what Cuba is like, you would be presented with a false narrative. The only way to know what has been truly happening is if you had ties to the island or knew of people who did. With this in mind, I created an 18 page visual short story that presented a family’s journey to freedom from Cuba to the United States (Florida).

I used Adobe Illustrator to create the simple vector graphics and Adobe InDesign to input the story to create a short story (the PDF to read the story will be linked in “Other Resources”).

Purpose of Project:

The purpose of my project was to teach people that when they learn of a social injustice/issue, they can spread awareness on social media. They can also do something about it by using their voice to support said group. Towards the end of my senior project, it turned out that I was actually living the purpose I intended it to be!

Since July, I have been learning about the current situation in Cuba and sharing it to my Instagram stories to spread awareness. Sunday November 14, 2021, my mom and I participated in a freedom march. Together with a crowd, we walked towards José Martí Park which sits on Cuban owned soil to support the liberation of the Cuban people.


Brainstorm senior project ideas: 2 hours 
Create mood boards/storyline: 1 hour
Write script: 5 hours 
Create scenes on Adobe Illustrator: 50 hours
Put graphics and script together on Adobe InDesign: 5 hours
Create and organize content on WordPress: 5 hours 
Protest: 3 hours
View and edit protest content: 3 hours
TOTAL: 74 hours

Other Resources:

Journey to Freedom: We’re No Longer Afraid (short story PDF)