International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award

Pedro Navarro Aguilar, MSW

Pedro Navarro AguilarPedro Navarro Aguilar, MSW, is a social worker who, while navigating his life as a blind, undocumented immigrant, has made significant contributions toward conveying a positive image of social work.

The documentary film “unseen” starts in 2016, from the time Pedro was a student to his current life as a professional social worker. In the film, we see how he: provides mental health care to survivors of one of the deadliest mass shootings in the U.S.; facilitates trainings for adults experiencing vision loss so they can develop skills like using a walking cane or reading Braille; hosts workshops in Spanish to further develop the skill sets of mental health professionals; offers mental health services to underserved communities (namely, immigrant and blind people) using culturally sensitive and in-language methodology; and demonstrates vulnerability on a personal level to further enhance his own mental health practice and ability to relate to his clients.

In the documentary, Pedro demonstrates to audiences the emotional intelligence and tremendous skill it takes to practice as a professional social worker. A field that seems so unfamiliar to many gains more relevancy as Pedro models how his lived experience informs the work he does by embodying the very tenets of social work.

A testament to Pedro’s compelling expertise in the profession, the film has been supported by NBCUniversal, Sundance Institute, Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, Gotham Film and Media Institute, Field of Vision, Firelight Media, among others. It has been screened in 25 film festivals on three continents. Pedro’s work has moved audiences globally, as attested by these select accolades and reviews:

Sample review: “What I find uplifting about Pedro as a person is the balance that he strikes between vulnerability and courage… A compelling portrait of a resilient individual pursuing a better life despite his situation, “unseen” aims to transcend socio-politics with its narrative and instead focus on the humanity of its subject.” - The Movie Buff

To learn more about Pedro’s journey, copy and paste PBS link:

Trailer (2 mins):

The NASW Foundation congratulates you, Pedro.