Last Thoughts…

My time throughout this online COPLAC course has been so exciting! (You think we’ve used that word enough this semester?!) I have taken many online classes before, but never a class that was this diverse. From working with students from other states in the US to using different mediums like slack, twitter, and WordPress for communication, and then learning to create maps or search through digital archives, I believe this course was by far the most technologically intense course I’ve taken. It took a great deal of commitment for me to be able to balance my time between this independent research and three other individual research projects. I loved collaborating with students in other areas of the country on projects that had definite differences, but also similarities that led us to collaboration throughout the semester and can’t find a word besides “excited” to describe how I feel about my future plans!

Looking back to when Amy first asked me to partner with her for this research and take an in depth look at the history of the people here in Morris, I thought I would make for a good side-kick. But together, we learned to collaborate and process through every step of the project. In August, we began by thinking very broadly about the term “migration” but very narrowly about our community. This was the first turning point in our project. We intentionally separated ourselves from the town we lived in and found a whole world of community archives, historians and research available to us on Stevens County. Then got busy doing research!

As I move into my last semester of my college career and into the workforce, I am thankful that I got to have this experience. The  type of collaborative research that I was able to do with Amy as well as other pairs from all over the US really showed me the value in a Liberal Arts education. I am thankful that I was able to utilize my knowledge from my Latin American Area Studies degree in this project while also growing in my skills as a researcher, historian, and community connecter. Through my experiences discussing my project with professors, permanent community members, church leaders, and Mexican immigrants I was able to see the value in personal relationships in research. This paired with existing knowledge allowed for me and Amy to create something really useful. We have a website now that is truly a resource for the Apostolic church, Stevens County, the University of MN-Morris and even other historians.

Amy and I are also planning on using this project as a platform to continue community education. Amy just completed her senior research capstone at UMM on TN-TD visas and some of the misconceptions of visa holders in the rural Midwest. By connecting these two projects, we are going to have a basis to work with community organizations and be able to better educate all of the community members as well as industry leaders in the area about the contemporary concerns and issues that face the people in our area. By using Apostolic history and comparing it to the modern day discussions on the Latino community in Stevens County, Amy and I are very excited to see how we can impact the community.

I will also use my newfound knowledge of and love for WordPress to create a teaching resource for my ESL classes. I am excited to use the technical abilities that I’ve gained to be able to create another resource that has only ever been a concept before. I think this resource will be able to help my students, as well as be a platform for them to continue teaching others. The idea that students are able to teach teachers just as much as they can be taught is something I believe very strongly in, and I am thankful that this COPLACDigital course reinforced it. I cannot wait to begin the next semester with even more research projects and potentially use some of the connections I have made in Morris to learn about the health coverage of immigrant workers and incorporate my interests in immigration, migration, and community building with into my Public Health education.

This is my final thank you to everyone that has followed along with the project this semester, as well as my professors who have supported Amy and I in this endeavor. Gracias por todo lo que hicieron!

Web Content.. Coming in HOT!!

Amy and I have been spending a good amount of time writing. A great amount of time, actually. We are working on this project as well as our personal senior seminars, so it seems like we have done little but write lately… BUT its glorious process.

We actually just came up with a new process! When Amy tries to write, it often takes her longer to form sentences that she thing fully embody what exactly it is she is trying to say. While I, on the other hand, am pretty good about spitballing ideas in my writing, and prefer to edit later on. Together, Amy can talk through all of her ideas with me while I type out sentences! Then she reviews the content and we decide if there is anything we don’t like or have questions about. We did this for a couple short hours over pizza (pausing every few pieces for a little chat) and ended up with some good content progress on the site. We are excited that we’ve finally hit a groove!! We are looking forward to collaborating and hearing opinions from the other girls (and Professor Dunn) in our breakout session and are planning on keeping this ball rolling this week.

Future outlook:

  • We need to finish up just one or two more sections of content and get it up on the site.
  • We’re looking for more photos and ways to connect the site content better.
  • Thanksgiving break might be hard for us, because I will be in the Twin Cities and Amy will be here in Morris, but I am confident that we will have enough done by the end of this week to really be able to make adjustments at a distance.

November Update

I believe the site is coming along swimmingly! Amy and I have decided to diversify our site with more photos and graphics in lieu of using Prezi. This is a current decision that we may be willing to change, but feel pretty confident about. We’ve been looking through new sources to use while discussing the comparative page on Mexican and Apostolic social institutions and culture. I think we’re a little concered about adding content because 1) it isn’t thoroughly edited 2) we don’t have as much as we thought 3) we’re both basically perfectionists.
Amy also reconfigured our drop down menus which make them exactly how I like them! Very thankful to be able to collaborate with someone who is more technically advanced and detail oriented than I am. Overall this project is coming together and I am excited!
(When hasn’t a blog ended in that?)

Update

So after a little over a week without my Macbook (and still learning how to even type on a PC that my lovely research partner has loaned me!!) I have been writing more web content for Amy and I to use online. Amy has reconfigured our page a bit to make sure that all our tabs are organized properly and then we will create our prezi’s later on! Looking forward to keep adding more information and see things coming together!

Factors

Because of an overwhelming week of health issues, personal commitments, and pure exhaustion, our research has taken a back seat this week. Amy and I did make a plan for our website, organize our ideas, and create a new document for us to draft up web content.

I have been looking at the Mexican history portion of our first Prezi for the website, and found that we actually hadn’t compiled any resources for this portion of our research or for the Mexican process of migration. It’s a good thing Amy and I both study Latin American Studies because we really did have a full arsenal of literature. The following paragraph is a draft of some web content that has come from a historical monograph and a lecture from UMM intrum professor Pedro Quijada given in my Latin American Immigration course last year.

Nevitte, Neil. The North American Trajectory: Cultural, Economic, and Political Ties among the United States, Canada and Mexico. Routledge, 2017.

Quijada, Pedro. “Mexican Immigration and The Chicano Movement.” Lecture, Latin American Immigration, University of Minnesota Morris, Morris, Minnesota, February 16, 2016.

Some scholars agree that there have been three large waves of Mexican immigration to the United States. The first being the after the Mexican Revolution. The second wave was after World War two called the Bracero Program which was also a key factor in the sudden growth of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States Southwest. The third wave of Mexican immigration to the United States was after the mid 1960’s at the height of the border industrialization program. 1965 marked the end of the Bracero Program, but Mexican employment on the border hardly decreased. These waves greatly impacted the economic relations between Mexico and the United States and when the North American Free Trade Agreement began in 1994, the blend of the Mexican North, United States South, and their economies became apparent. Over time, as the industries and economies of these countries have converged to be dependent on one another. The geographical proximity, similarities in industry, and a unique economic dependence between Mexico and the United States has made for an interesting history of migration that has impacted individuals and industry even all the way to Minnesota.

 

There are often very simplified explanations of factors that influence the migration of people, goods, and industry that have long term implications on the perceptions of migration across the US, Mexican Border. This example clearly outlines a few of the individual factors that are vital to the migration process, but they omit the resources to begin a discussion on immigration. As noted above, the main influencing factors are environmental, social, economic, and political.

 

Amy and I hope to fill the gap between the omission of images and rhetoric like this by bringing to light to history of Morris and the current experiences of Midwestern immigrants.

 

Integration

May, Sarah F., Lisa Y. Flores, Stephen Jeanetta, Lindsey Saunders, Corinne Valdivia, Marvyn R. Arévalo Avalos, and Domingo Martínez. “Latina/o immigrant integration in the rural midwest: Host community resident and immigrant perspectives.” Journal of Latina/o Psychology3, no. 1 (2014): 23-39. doi:10.1037/lat0000029.

Integration: A product of the social, cultural, human, and economic assets possessed by immigrants and host community residents within a rural settlement community.

This research was done in a small farming community that looked at the increase in Latino immigration and how people were connected and the community was impacted on the whole. The growth of Latino/as in the Midwest has been the most substantial according to the 2010 census and has mostly come from the diaspora of Latinos from the cities to suburban and rural areas in the Midwest in order to pursue work, community safety, low cost of living, and family.

The study noted some interesting things that I knew, but never thought to look for in research. There is a separation in rural communities that is brought about by the lay out of the area and works to the advantage of a community that values tight knit relationships, the protection of family, and privacy. It is also particularly helpful for vulnerable groups that experience discrimination and disadvantages in city settings. The extent to which people can integrate into a new community is very much based on the expectations, attitudes, and perceived attitudes of the host community, so if everyone is a little more spread out, the study concludes that this transition is different. The study actually concluded that the concepts of “Midwest Nice” (we know they all meant Minnesota Nice) and religious communities meant that there was a more accepting community. This also draws attention to the comparison of the Latino and Apostolic communities in Morris and how they are based off of very similar beliefs and values.

A couple things that the article mentions that we should look into on both sides of the research:

The use of microaggressions to stop people from engaging in a host community. I know from personal experience some of the things that my ESL students have encountered. Am I allowed to comment on these in our research or on our website? I would also want to mention to rhetoric that other people, both students and community members say to and about the Latino and Apostolic communities.

The strongest sense of connectedness was in schools and education because of group dynamics in schools and sports. We found this in our other research and I think it correlates well with the project!

There was a lot of data in this research that I don’t believe Amy and I are going to describe explicitly in our research, but I am looking forward to seeing how those numbers relate to some other statistical research we’re looking into from Morris! One thing we need to discuss is how we’re going to move into translating the research we have done into the website and start filling it up!

 

Rubin and Crystol Luthi

Last Wednesday (9/20) Amy and I got to meet with an Apostolic couple, Rubin and Crystol Luthi to talk about their perspective on our project as well as look through some family records and Apostolic resources. To begin, we sorted through a lot of information on the Luthi, Moser, and Schmidt families. I created a few family trees and organized them based on who was from where or held tightly to their German or Swiss heritage. It turns out that Christian (Christ/Criss) Luthi was Ruben’s grandfather and brother-in-law of Chris Moser. Turns out that Chris Moser was one of the most influential people in bringing over the Luthi family to America, specifically Northeastern Iowa and later Minnesota, and even taught him agriculture and farming.

We gathered a lot of information, but don’t want to give it all away! So here’s a little snippet!

Unlike we previously believed, the community here is a large mix of Germans and Swiss. We now have a new gap to look into!

We deduced that the families are very interconnected, and based on the basis of Christian faith that family ought to take care of one another, it is pretty obvious that, even during times like the great depression, the Apostolic church took care of each other. There was also talk of punishment (kind of like bannishment)

We heard a lot about the agriculture here in Stevens County and especially about the relationship of Apostolic’s in Northeast Iowa to those here. There is still a lot of migration in this community throughout the Midwest. Amy and I have decided that this is interesting but I am not convinced that it would be worth investigating. I really think that opens the scope of the project too much.

It was between 1932 and 1935 that the use of German in Apostolic churches was being discussed, and there are still churches that are strictly German speaking. Some of the Luthi’s relatives spoke both English and German, but were reluctant to change.

My favorite piece of information was when Ruben told us that the Apostolic people really impacted Morris, and Stevens County as a whole. They were perceived as honest people which helped them be accepted here among a variety of other ethnicities and religious beliefs.

This is just one meeting from a local historian that Amy and I are blessed to meet with. Grateful for a wise, educated, organized, and invested community supporting us!

Latino Heartland

Vega, Sujey. Latino heartland: of borders and belonging in the midwest. New York: New York University University, 2015.

Ive been coming up short this week with useful resources on the Latino experience in the Midwest- let alone Stevens County. Then I finally remembered that last year, I literally took a course called Latinos in the Midwest… GOLD!! I’ve been looking through some of the materials that we read for that class and I am starting to make some better head way!

In one of my favorite, and probably more applicable books, Latino Heartland – Of Borders and Belonging in the Midwest, is chocked full of information that will be useful to our project. There were two specific chapters that Amy and I have both studied that are complimentary to conversations that we have had in class. the first called Clashes at the Crossroads (does that sound similar to something my partner has posted lately?!) and United We are Stronger (does that sound a little like our project goals??)

THIS is what gets me excited about research! Before I get to deep into this material, I want to note that I know that this is not about Stevens County, but the information, and experiences written about in the book will greatly improve the direction that Amy and I take in whatever way we decide to pursue local information!

In the chapter, Clashes at the Crossroads, there was a lot of discussions about how people are or are not included in  community. Sometimes, there are outright judgements, and other times there is an underlying tension that disclude people from certain communities. When the people of Lafayette, Indiana were asked a question about immigrants such as, “What do you know about immigrant history in Lafayette?” they immediately jumped from the words immigrant to Latino and associated the researcher’s interest in migration with one specific ethnic group (143). Prior to this, there was discussion about microaggressions and even while they are actively in pursuit of belonging, there were underlying sentiments of rejection and disdain from the majority in Lafayette (139). This relates directly to the quote, “socially unacceptable examples of outright racism have been replaced be seemingly banal acts that still communicate a levels of discomfort and prejudice present just beneath the surface,” and “Latino residents were either ‘new’ or not a numerical majority required that they have a double consciousness: always aware of how they see themselves and how others see them.” (141, 151) These quotes both came with footnotes of other articles and books that I am very interested in looking into. Already got one on interlibrary loan!

In regards to how my partner’s research and mine overlaps, we have both been looking at borders and communities as combining, clashing, connecting, and creating community. In this chapter, Vega outlines

“A difference between “the boarder” as a particular geopolitical line of national difference and the resulting borderlands as the places where conceptualizations attributed to the border influence the way people live and interact wth one another. In this regard, the borderlands could and do expand beyond the space directly adjacent to a national border.” (149)

The chapter, United We are Stronger focused a lot more on the same type of thing that Amy and I are pursuing in our research.  It addressed how Latinos in Lafayette showed “cultural citizenship” through different activities like creating a festival, marching for immigration reform, and creating community organizations. Here in Morris, we have a lot of different groups and organizations similar to ones that were described. It would be worth it for Amy to look into these groups more and talk to participants as well and directors (one of whom happens to be my very own partner!)  Another interesting piece relates back to family life and education. From a child’s or student’s perspective, their level of belonging is determined by how, where, and with whom they display certain parts of your ethnic (or, for the purpose of this research, I would expand to religious) identity.

I’m super excited about this reading and all that it will bring to the rest of our research!