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Justice and Space Matter in a Strong, Unified Latino Community


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 6. Language and Literacy


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Meet Nieves and Itza

Nieves, 13, savored watching a Mexican telenovela [soap opera] with Itza, her mother. Nieves did not attend the Tutorial Center to be with friends until La Rosa finished, which demonstrated the importance of the Mexican culture, Spanish language, and mother-daughter relationship. Religious and cultural connections flowed when Nieves discussed the program: “En La Rosa de Guadalupe [the Rose of Guadalupe] the kids talk about problems and someone asks Guadalupe to help them and she helps them” (Bussert-Webb & Díaz, 2013, p. 29). La virgen is the Roman Catholic Patron Saint of the Americas and the Blessed Mary, Mother of Jesus. Rosa, in the show’s title refers to rare roses spilling out of Juan Diego’s cloak in front of a doubting bishop, proving la virgen appeared to Juan Diego. The Virgin’s image became imprinted on Juan Diego’s cloak, also. Our Lady of Guadalupe symbolizes Mexico, discussed in Chapter 5.

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