Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’


Immigrant Women Talk About Coming to Indiana

April 28, 2009

Assisted by members of the Indiana Diversity Women’s Network (IDWN), Dulce Maria Scott has been collecting the stories of immigrant and diverse women in Indiana. Dr. Scott, a faculty member at Anderson University, received a small grant for the project from the Indiana Humanities Council and another grant from the university.

She writes: The work is still underway, but thus far we have acquired an understanding of a variety of reasons why the women left their country of origin. We have also been able to ascertain some of the major challenges faced by the women in their journey of adaptation and integration into American society and the Hoosier state.

The women’s experiences are varied. Some arrived in the United States to pursue a higher education, others to find a better job, some as a result of marrying an American man they met in the country of origin, and others arrived as children or were born in the United States to immigrant parents. Some left their country to escape poverty, others to escape political turmoil, and still others left because the opportunity to do so presented itself to them.

Upon arrival, many of the women experienced cultural shock, an intense sense of isolation, and, in, some instances overt prejudice and discrimination. Some experienced a loss of social status upon arrival. Occupying middle to upper middle class positions in their country of origin, some of the women struggled initially with having to accept menial labor positions in order to survive in the United States. The process of adaptation and integration to American society was not easy for the women, and we have acquired an understanding of the difficulties and challenges they faced in this process.

A few of the women interviewed arrived in the United States at a young age or were born in the United States to immigrant parents. Theirs is the experience of the first American born generation, a generation which is usually caught between two cultures. Theirs is often an experience of conflict between the parent’s values and those of the wider American society. Their struggle is one of trying to fit in with the children of mainstream society, while simultaneously living at home in accordance with the native culture of their parents. While the identity of women who arrived in the United States as adults remains rooted in the country of origin, the second generation tends to experience a much more fluid identity, partly American and partly ethnic.

We hope that the stories collected will become a historical document that gives a voice to immigrant women arriving in Indiana in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Women are often at the center of family and community life. The story of immigrant integration/assimilation into American life is also the story of women who are in the labor force, raise families, further their education, and assume leadership positions in their places of work, churches and communities.

What’s your story?


La Obra Nueva del Teatro Fenix–¡en Español!

May 9, 2008

The new play by the Phoenix Theatre–in Spanish!

Papá está en la Atlántida (Our Dad is in Atlantis) opened last night at Indianapolis’ Phoenix Theatre. I’m heading to see it tonight after work. Expect a review (of some sorts) over the weekend.

The Phoenix’s reputation for choosing challenging material (and doing it well) and the play’s subject matter compel me to expect great things. The version I’ll be seeing is in English which almost certainly means I’ll be back to catch una versión española también.

The play runs until June 8 but be sure to pick your language of choice. Spanish versions are on May 22, 23, 29, 30 and June 1, 5, 6.

Apparently there will be live accordion music. ¡Qué auténtico!

This entry was posted by: Jim

Goshen, Indiana and Apan, (Hidalgo), Mexico

May 6, 2008

The relationship that Indianapolis, Indiana, USA has with Tala, Jalisco, MX (described in the previous post) is very similar to the one between Goshen, Indiana, USA and Apan, Hidalgo, MX–as highlighted in this write-up in Goshen’s Bulletin and in the documentary described therein.

I first learned of Fuerza while attending the 6th Annual Statewide Conference on Latino Affairs last October (but have sadly yet to get my hands on a copy). My guess is that this is not a unique phenomena at all, and in fact is indicative of the one of the larger drivers of immigration.

Economic incentive is clearly the major driver, but that only informs us that immigration will happen, it does not really explain from where immigrants will arrive or where they will decide to settle. That seems to be determined by reasons of social capital. New immigrants will seek out locales near where friends and family from the source country have gone.

This entry was posted by: Jim