Narrowing Communities

Q. Please list the top three communities you would like to write about. Give some space between each community.

1. Mexicans in Lexington: I could interview and get to know more about the folks from Mexico who have arrived in Lexington over the last 15-20 years. I’m becoming more aware of the history, and I have come to know a few people in the community who have been giving me their views on immigration to the area. I’m not sure on what aspect, or how I will find complete entrance into the community yet. But since I am Chicano, this sometimes helps.

2. DREAMer eligible youth in Lexington. I’ve been volunteering with a youth rights group for the thepast few weeks, and I have come to know a few of the members, as well as some of the folks behind planning and carrying out the organization’s day-to-day operations and strategic plans. I will continue to volunteer with this group to get to know more about what’s happening in the community. They relate to the first community I wrote about above.

3. Children getting tutored at the Village Branch library. I will be volunteering a few hours a week at this library, and I will come to know more about the local Mexican community in this part of the city. This area has a high concentration of Latino immigrants. I will also witness first-hand some of the educational issues facing the community. This will help me to plan some later research in the field.

Q. How are the members of this community alike? (Other communities or other members.)

1. ALIKE: Members are alike in that they speak the same language, Spanish, that they have arrived in a city that had no historical Mexican links, they are marginalized in the mainstream, and they are increasingly recognized for the potential value as consumers. They also share the same senses of discrimination and political disengranchisement. particularly those who are undocumented. In terms of political disenfranchisement, they share this characteristic with African Americans in the area.

DIFFERENT: They speak Spanish, and they are racially “marked.” Not only this, but the Mexican folks come from different regions in Mexico, from Aguas Calientes, Guadalajara, and Veracruz among others. They have different accents. They are also stratified by social class as those who have lived here longer seem to have established roots, and even started chains of businesses.

2. ALIKE: They share the same political situation, even identity “illegal.” They are activitsts pushing for immigration reform. They are educated, motivated, and of the highest potential in terms of student capabilties. Bilingual. Informed.

DIFFERENT: They come from different social classes. Most are female. Some speak better English than Spanish, actually maybe most. Some are better students than others. Some only want to work and not go to school.

3. ALIKE: Language issues at home. Neighborhood they live in. They want homework help or they recognize the importance for homework assistance.

DIFFERENT: All families are different. Some place more importance on school than others. They come from different social classes, ethnicities, races. They may speak other languages beyond English and Spanish. The go to different schools.

What are your connections to each of these communities?

1. New to area, but becoming more familiar. I call myself Mexican American, and I’m supposedly an authority on the subject of Mexican families because of my research. My connection deals with a personal sense of identity, but also an emotional connection to immgrants coming to the USA, perhaps some deep nostalgia carried over for my grandparents on both my father’s and mother’s sides of the family.

2. I know undocumented youth who have graduated, attended, and dropped out of college. I taught many undocumented students from around the world, and I felt a strong sense of connection to these students up against tremendous odds. I also have experience working with activist groups, in particular those by Mexican Americans in the USA. I would like to get more involved, partly because immigration reform is a cause I believe in, but also because I want to be able to advise the students who confide their situations to me.

3. I have tutored Mexican youth for over five years, and I will hopefully be doing the same here. I was hired to connect the UK with the local community, and working with young people and their parents was what I did previously in my ethnographic research. I will hopefully be continuing in this line, but in a new context. I hope my connections with the community will build rapport, or what I term confianza, and I will become an insider into the community.

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