My name is Sunny Martinez, I am a sophomore at Haverford College and I plan to major in political science. We had the amazing opportunity to get to hear the personal stories of migrants who have been doing work to move the community forward and also to eat at one of their restaurants as well as explore the community and celebrate the day of the dead. In this photograph the class is listening to the speakers from the community. I am the one with pink hair sitting in the front row. I can still remember what I was thinking and feeling during the talk. There was a point where I had tears in my eyes because what was being said was so incredibly powerful. I really appreciated the strength of each and every one of them and admired their vulnerability.
It was so nice to hear the oral histories of these amazing people because so often in classes we are limited to just texts so to have actual people with lived experience to hear from is so meaningful. It really put a face to the communities which we are discussing in class and brought the material to life. They faced all the struggles we learned about like exploitation in the workplace, transnational families, lack of rights due to not having citizenship, feeling isolated, etc. It also really gave me hope. It is easy to feel down about the situations of communities that face lots of adversity but seeing people literally dance through the streets with pride for their culture made me so happy. Hearing about how they are doing the work to build community and create a sense of belonging for Mexican migrants was so beautiful.
As the daughter of Mexican migrants myself I felt so comfortable in their presence. Their stories and struggles were very similar to those of my parents. Also just being in the community reminded me so much of home and it felt so nice being surrounded by my culture after spending so much time feeling nostalgic for it. I will definitely be returning to the area to give myself that little piece of home here and there. The whole experience made me feel very proud of my culture which I think I really did not appreciate enough growing up. Now not being surrounded by it I realize just how beautiful it is and the talk gave me a much deeper understanding of my parents struggles.