Building Community, Embracing Heritage 🌎

This week’s edition covers stories 
from June 1st to June 7th, 2023.

Today’s issue is 870 words, a 6.7minute read.

In today’s edition, Isabella and Helene talk community building, Serpentina Arts,
and Immigrant Heritage Month. 

Good morning, readers! Helene here. I was trying out my novice hand at the grill with a good friend the other night and was feeling all the normal blessings that come as a part of a Minnesota summer. My grilling was mediocre, of course. No matter. It got me thinking about all the ways that we can better interact with our own little communities, starting with our neighbors. I had some good conversations sitting outside that evening with people from my apartment complex that I don’t normally talk to, even though they’re right down the hall. So I’m making the case today to get outside and try your hand at the grill and then talk to the people you’re around while you’re at it! There’s opportunities outside of the home, too, all over the Twin Cities. You could show up at Minneapolis Queer Softball, every Friday night, 6:00 PM at Powderhorn Park, grilling to follow the game. What better way to meet good people? If sports aren’t your thing, try out the Urban Bird Collective. They’re focused on bringing birding into the lives of Black, Indigenous, people of color, and LGBTQ communities in the Twin Cities. All skill levels are welcome! Join their Facebook group to find out about upcoming walks, and report back to me if you do! You know where to find me:

Las 4 direcciónes y 4 elementos”, a painting by Ramses Alarcon, one of the 3 artists featured at the recent “ART HAS NO RULES” exhibition 📸 Ramses Alarcon 

If you’re so moved, get out and see some art this summer. Serpentina Arts, a Minneapolis-based collective of Latinx artists, occasionally hosts workshops and gallery shows to feature local Latinx / Chicano art. In their most recent exhibition, “ART HAS NO RULES”, hosted at Squirrel Haus Arts, the three featured artists had no formal training. From the event page description for the gallery show, “Serpentina Arts is known for helping Latinx artists advance their craft professionally and find ways to push the boundaries of traditional artistic conventions in Minnesota. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase the work of these three incredible artists who have lacked sufficient exposure,” says Maria Cristina (Tina) Tavera, Serpentina Arts Director. “Their work is a powerful reminder that rules or expectations should never constrain creativity.’” The collective is definitely a place to keep your eye out for rising talent in the local arts scene. With that, I’ll pass you to Isabella. Have a great week! 

The Alchemy of Immigrants: Forging a Golden Future through Waves of Transformative Innovation
by Isabella Silva-Biotti

“If my friends could see me now” 1991. Acrylic, painted canvas, gold yarn on stitched and padded canvas. 📸 Photo courtesy of the Pacita Abad Art Estate | currently on exhibit at The Walker Museum

The first time I ever saw Marco crywas after the sudden realization that he might never see his parents again. Of course this wasn’t the first time he’d known this – he knew. The first time he realized it was the day he left Mexico. “Vente aquí que hay dinero y trabajo,” his brother said. In a haste he began his odyssey to the United States.

Marco worked as a car cleaner, a mechanic, a repairman, a waiter, a cook, and many others. All of these professions were potential career paths but he never felt that he could reach the full potential that many Americans had the liberty to explore. When we worked together as servers at a Mexican restaurant in 2019, he encouraged me to pursue my passions because I was lucky enough to have the privilege of legality in a country where undocumented individuals are hunted and loathed. 

25 years later, Marco hasn’t returned to Mexico. Thanks to technology he can facetime and text his parents. His son, who he admirably encourages to be his best self, was born in the U.S. and is reminded by his father to not forget his heritage. Marco shows his son that he can have the best of both worlds. The privilege of being an American with a Mexican heritage. 

Immigration is often seen as a journey to liberation.New doors are opening while a troubled past is left behind. Immigration is a choice that can feel like a resignation, as Milan Kundera once said in his novel “Ignorance” (2000). Some are running from burdensome environments, but many immigrants are leaving behind their home and their loved ones. 

The search for a better life is tough. The belief that once a person sets foot in U.S. territory their world magically transforms into a respectable, well-informed, educated U.S. citizen is a fallacy. Groups of people dwell on their past homes while they make means to form new ones. Not only is the economic aspect a difficult circumstance, but culturally transitioning into opposing and contradicting values is an enduring hardship. Either you come accustomed to the new ways, or you live a path of resistance. According to Julisa Arce’s memoir “You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation” (2022), many Latino individuals tend to resist the process of assimilation. Continue reading here…

That is all from us this week, folks! Listen to our playlist NewMusica this week for NewTaste, NewVibes…

-Isabella and Helene

Hi, friend: Helene and Isabella here! 
We’re Communications Specialists by day
and welcoming in the start of pride month by night! 

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