Amarelis Martinez was born during one of the most devastating storms in recent memory. The category 5 tempest, Hurricane Hugo, robbed Puerto Rico of electrical power. Martinez’s mother gave birth in a lightless and waterless hospital room with nineteen other women while the hurricane raged on outside. Her birth, Martinez suggests, set the tone for the rest of her life. She can go without much and still make it – head first.
A broom in constant motion and the consummate jingling of store bells accompanied Martin Noriega. He was busy sweeping the floor at Estetica Ivette Salon when we first arrived at his North Side business. Ivette is his mother, the salon Noriega’s gift to her. Once finished at the salon, Noriega dashed next door to answer phone calls and stock the shelves of his newest endeavor – a small Mexican styled grocery store. During our visit, he continued darting between the brick and mortar realities of Noriega’s decade long dream to one day own a business.
As an energetic kid with a penchant for science and math, Nathali Bertran dreamt of building a spaceship and visiting the moon. Her current job isn’t lightyears away from this either. She now builds more terrestrial machines as a design engineer for Honda R&D Americas in Raymond, Ohio. In addition to engineering cars, Bertran is also part of a team working to streamline and simplify the process of applying for DACA (that’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status that allows recipients to attend public universities and garner U.S. work authorization.
The term “power-couple” is often used to refer to two individuals – dating or married – who are independently successful. At times, this phrase seems somewhat trite – terming “power” as economic success. Yet, in many ways, I am tempted to use this label for Maylin Sambois-Sanchez and Javier Sanchez. These two look to strengthen the Columbus community through their focus on youth programming. The vision they each have for improving children’s lives coupled with their support for one other lends a special kind of power to their endeavors.
Seven large canvas frames lean against a corner of Natalia Sanchez’s new studio space. She spent most of this Friday building, breaking down, and then rebuilding these wooden rectangles. This CCAD graduate appears the perfect combination of exhausted and exhilarated. The canvases are slated to feature a series of paintings inspired by chakras – or psychic energy centers.
Dance is a powerful tool that brings generations together. This week’s ¡Dímelo, Columbus! features the stories of a mother, daughter, and educator who use Folklore Dance (Baile Folclorico) as a means of exploring and sharing their cultural heritage. Continue reading
In the 1950’s, representatives from a steel company in Lorraine, Ohio traveled down to Puerto Rico to recruit much-needed factory workers. They succeeded in convincing Crucita Flecha’s maternal and paternal grandparents (among many others) to move from their small town in Puerto Rico to the Midwest. Flecha’s grandfather worked in these Ohio steel mills until retirement, while her father found work at a Ford Automotive Plant in the neighboring city of Vermillion, Ohio.
Right before attending his last ever class at Columbus State, Jordan Cardona met with me at a local coffee shop. He is preparing to attend Ohio State in the fall, where he will study International Relations and Diplomacy with a minor in Russian at Ohio State. Cardona’s excitement for this new chapter in life is palpable – especially as he shared his passion for politics and ambition to work and live abroad one day.
Reyna Esquivel-King kindly took a break from grading finals to share her story with ¡Dímelo, Columbus! She is currently a graduate student in Ohio State’s Department of History studying the relationship between film censorship and identity creation in Mexico’s revolutionary and post-revoluationary periods. We discussed her dissertation, how our backgrounds inspire research topics, and the strong relationship between history and the present.
The Ohio Hispanic Coalition (OHCO) is situated on the Northside of Columbus, near Crosswoods. The OHCO was founded by three Latinas in 1990 to promote access to health services in Columbus. Now, the organization’s programming extends beyond simply issue of health to “improve the well-being and quality of life for all Hispanics/Latinos through advocacy, education, training, and access to quality services.” The OHCO’s executive director, Josué Vicente explains how the Coalition functions in the unique Midwest environment and elaborates on his own experience moving to the United States.