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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 9. Education in Corazón (with Claudia Troncoso)


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Meet Ana and Olivia

Brother James, long-term Corazón resident and retired clergy, and Tim, Corazón priest at the time, had met young Ana and Olivia, sisters. Ana, the older sister, displayed enormous talents, according to Brother James. She was a “wiz at computers” and made them scrumptious Sunday meals. “She was a natural,” Brother James added. Ana graduated with two bachelor’s degrees in nursing and Spanish from our local university and with a master’s in translation at a university in Guadalajara, Mexico. Tim gave Ana’s younger sister, Olivia, a Harry Potter book, transforming Olivia into a voracious reader; Olivia received her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Brother James explained,

What gets me is how these two girls [were] living in this little house. It’s a trailer, a travel trailer, for uh, for vacations. It only has two beds in it. They didn’t have a desk to study on, no hot running water. And they were able to go through college, both of them cum laude. And the second one had only one “B” in all her college career. And it’s just amazing how they could do it.


Chapter 9’s inquiry question was: What are the educational opportunities and practices of Corazón children and adults? Most data sources consisted ← 169 | 170 → of interviews and surveys; see the Book Introduction regarding methodology. Co-researchers were mostly: Tutorial Center youth, teacher...

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