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BRIDGING CULTURES: LATINO LIVES AND EXPERIENCES IN NORTH CAROLINA (SPANISH 313) A Photo Essay by Axel Herrera Ramos

Bridging Cultures explores key issues surrounding Latinx communities in Durham and beyond, focusing on issues of culture and immigration, health, education, economy. Assigned projects and activities emphasize bidirectional learning and cultural understanding and facilitate opportunities for building bridges to local communities.

Axel Herrera Ramose was a service-learning assistant (SLA) for this course and created this photo reflection on his experience.

Fiesta Del Pueblo

Being a Durham and North Carolina resident, it was awesome to attend this event for the first time. What hit me the most was the vast amount of people and the significance of hosting this celebration amongst the same legislative buildings that have produced harmful anti-immigrant legislation.

Fiesta Del Pueblo

The variety in food, music, peoples, and resources was incredible. Seeing the students interact with all these aspects made me realize how rare such events are and how valuable they are for all communities. It celebrates some and invites many others into the celebration.

Iglesia Emaculada

The ability for the church to create spaces for community is one of its greatest assets. Seeing the large numbers of people in mass allowed students and I to become even more aware of the importance of this institution and the large presence of a historically invisible community that is said to live in the shadows actually has in a place like Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

La Pulga

La Pulga (Green Flea Market) is a staple in many Latinx communities. It is an entrepreneurial space that provides that touch of home for many from all over Latin America. The variety of food, produce, artifacts, and many other products you can find at La Pulga fill the niche needs of our community.

La Pulga (continued)

It is symbolic of the strong presence the Latinx community has in our city. Many students who visited for the first time they become more aware of how little they may interact with this part of the community despite their established presence. This can even include Latinx students from Duke as well.

Farmworker Camps

Visiting the farmworker camps was one of the most impactful experiences for all of us. Walking around the trailers where they lived in large numbers, seeing the difficult and poor conditions shocked many of us especially given the proximity to which this exists from Duke. It was challenging to take any of it in without being highly self aware of one’s own privilege but still needing to engage in order to learn how to help from them.

Farmworker Camps

Standing in the middle of the torn down trailers (either by the sheer age of them or the destruction of hurricane Florence), I witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets in North Carolina. The stark juxtaposition of beauty and poverty was difficult to digest.

The Children

There were some many kids playing around with us. In all that time we spent with them, they laughed, asked us questions, ran around, and played with their pets. I smiled, but inside I just kept thinking of the meaning of their current background. As hardworking as their parents are, the resources available to them would largely be limited and I thought over and over about how many opportunities they deserved but would probably not receive. It produced anger, sadness, and more purpose to one day change things for their benefit and their family’s.
As we headed out, the kids go back inside and many of us reflected to all the privileges that awaited us back on campus and those we had carried with us the whole time there.

The Latino lives in North Carolina are

Vibrant, yet arduous

Numerous, yet forgotten

Beautiful and worth fighting for.

-Axel Herrera Ramos

Credits:

Axel Herrera Ramos

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