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Justice and Space Matter in a Strong, Unified Latino Community

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Kathy Bussert-Webb, María Eugenia Díaz and Krystal A. Yanez

Justice and Space Matter in a Strong, Unified Latino Community provides a detailed analysis of colonias along the Mexico–United States border, examining the intersection of culture, education, language, literacy, race, religion, and social class in Latino immigrant communities. The researchers investigated Corazón, a colonia in South Texas, as a case study of these unincorporated border settlements, consisting of mostly Mexican heritage residents and lacking many basic living necessities. Highlighting over ten years of research findings, the authors consider structural inequalities alongside the unique strengths of Corazón. Their acute observations dispel myths about such high-poverty communities and demonstrate how residents overcome the odds through activism, faith, and ganas. In presenting a portrait of the Corazón colonia, the authors offer a deeper level of understanding of one Latino community to inspire the development of a more equitable, compassionate world. This book will be invaluable to students and scholars of all fields who work with culturally diverse people in poverty, and will be ideal for courses in ethnic studies, multicultural studies, ethnographic methods, and socio-cultural applications for education.

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Chapter 5. Religion and a Space for Justice

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RELIGION AND A SPACE FOR JUSTICE

Meet la virgen de Guadalupe

December 12, 2014. 71 degrees Fahrenheit, 22 Celsius. La Aparición de la virgen de Guadalupe [Appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe] event begins. Tutorial Center children sit on a float with Christmas lights dazzling. Behind the float, about 50 Corazón residents walk or use wheelchairs—singing hymns, meandering toward the Catholic Church. Once inside, a teen narrator behind a podium welcomes attendees, then children reenact the story of la virgen de Guadalupe—in Spanish. A boy and girl in costumes perform with respect the roles Juan Diego, peasant, and la virgen, who appeared to him on the Hill of Tepeyac, now part of Mexico City. Other children represent an incredulous, powerful bishop and his assistants. The reenactment ends when fleshy, rare roses fall from Juan Diego’s tilma [agave-fiber cloak], encrusted with la virgen’s image.

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