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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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Introduction

Extract



Meet Claudia

Claudia, book contributor and former tutorial volunteer, moved to Corazón [heart], Texas, from Mexico at age eight. All names are pseudonyms. Claudia received a four-year academic scholarship from our university. A certified bilingual fourth grade instructor in a local public school, Claudia completed a nationally accredited master’s program in counseling recently.

Claudia recollected when she and her friends cleaned mud from their clothes in the school bathroom before entering their classrooms on rainy days. On such days, either Claudia’s godmother carried her to the bus stop or Claudia sloshed through the unpaved streets, sometimes with plastic bags around her shoes. Claudia appeared as the quiet girl, so school peers would not bother her; yet they would taunt Claudia’s friends. When youth would start arguing, others they would sneer, “You’re from [Corazón],” or they would say the shoes of Claudia’s friends looked filthy.

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