MTV Votes Down Discrimination and Inequality With a Wall We Can All Get Behind

MTV’s Elect This campaign is all about letting the voters do the talking. Social justice, national security, healthcare and the economy, climate change, and immigration and refugees are what MTV’s millennial voters are talking about.

The latest campaign, Beyond the Wall, highlights one major issue—immigration rights and reform.

In a final push to stir the conversation and provide a platform for these issues, the network built a massive interactive video installation in New York City’s Herald Square. The 10-foot by 35-foot wall evokes imagery of the Berlin Wall with barbed wire and graffiti emblazoned on its mock-concrete façade.


“What kind of country do you want to live in? One that builds walls or tears them down?” – MTV’s Elect This Campaign. Photo courtesy of MTV.

The wall was unveiled on Oct. 10 to coincide with Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This symbolic gesture reminds spectators that the only Americans who are not immigrants or descendants of immigrants are Native Americans.

MTV Vice President of Public Affairs Ronnie Cho explained the inspiration behind the instillation in a press release. “Young people are tired of politics as usual during the 2016 election and want real change on the issues they care about most. This symbolic border wall installation is a powerful way for our audience to go beyond the rhetoric, beyond the talking points and beyond the wall, towards a more meaningful conversation about issues that are at the heart of this election cycle and are core to defining who we want to be as a country.”

The instillation showcases videos from prominent millennial immigrants such as Orange is the New Black star Dianne Guerrero and Muslim blogger Amani Alkhat. These activists, artists, and comedians embody MTV’s youthful spirit and creativity, and they are all immigrants or first-generation Americans with stories to tell.

In Guerrero’s video, the performer describes a hellish experience—coming home from school one day to find out her parents had been arrested and deported. “I’ve been without my family for 15 years,” said Guerrero. “I’m an American. I’m very proud to be one. Yet, all my life, I’ve sort of struggled to feel fully American, because I hear so many people tell me that my story is different from the American story. Being the daughter of immigrants is a very American story, and I want to be part of this narrative, whether people like it or not. We’re not just numbers, we’re real people. This is a human issue, not a political one.”

Listen to the rest of Guerrero’s story below:

In another testimony, Comedy Central’s stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo details a shocking situation where she was denied a reservation at a hotel because of what she looked like.

“I was born in Texas,” said Alonzo. “I am an American by all means, but for some people, my face doesn’t say it.”

Hear Alonzo’s story of discrimination here.

The exhibit was only open for one day, but users can continue to go #BeyondTheWall on MTV’s Elect This website and click “bricks” to view each testimony from the exhibit on the site.


Photo courtesy of MTV Twitter.

Scroll down the digital brick wall to find ways to take action. Through its ongoing partnership with Rock the Vote, Elect This helps users register to vote and find their polling place.

Besides voting, there are infinite ways to break down barriers to social justice. Want to challenge bias in your community? MTV’s Look Different campaign provides tangible ways to do this. Clicking through to their site, you’ll find information on issues such as racial profiling, islamophobia, indigenous issues, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and immigration status.

Each section is comprised of four parts: What it is, how it works, why it matter, and what you can do to help. 

Here’s the breakdown on xenophobia.

Look Different provides six ways to confront and challenge bias—even if it’s your own.

Click through to see how you can learn more about bias and privilege.


The digital wall also offers ways to get involved with groups such as Vote Latino, Immigration Equality, and Muslim Advocates, among others. Elect This’s partnership with provides a handful of relevant petitions to sign—like this one that will help Syrian refugees safely enter the U.S.

Our nation’s fight for equality and human rights will continue after our presidential election ends on Nov. 8.

To join MTV in breaking down the wall of discrimination, visit the Elect This website.

This is the fifth in a series of Viacom election recaps. In the next few weeks we’ll keep you updated with what our brands are doing to further Viacom’s mission of voter engagement and social justice.

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