Look closely between the chain restaurants and vestiges of deindustrialization on Columbus’s West Side, and you’ll notice a few colorful gems jutting from the landscape. One of these is Panaderia Oaxaqueña – a business located on 63 South Murray Hill Road that boasts some of the best Mexican pastries in town. This week, Dímelo features Genesis Cruz-Santos and his insight on the changing Latino community of the city.
A self identified “Mexican born in the United States,” Rocío Prado grew up immersed in and somewhat torn between two cultures. Though based in Anaheim, California, Prado and her family frequently trekked to Mexico and Tijuana for weekend visits to family and doctors. Her experiences in Mexico and Baja California juxtaposed with those in Orange County private schools, where classmates often noted her ethnic difference, were difficult to navigate.
Yolanda Zepeda advocates for Latino students and other underrepresented groups on campus as the assistant vice provost in Ohio State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. With a significant background in higher education, Zepeda has seen a shift in the treatment of diversity in a university setting. Her experiences as a former student and current administrator of color within the university system inspire her to help others struggling to defend their identities and explain their presence on campus.
An intensely curious person by admission, Ani Palacios’ fascination with all matter of subject seeps into her writing. Each book is different: one gives advice to new immigrants in the United States, another shares the journeys of a handsome (yet fictitious) Peruvian Texan musician, No Strings Attached shares the secret to unconditional love, and her award-winning novel Nos vemos en Purgatorio is a semi-autobiographical story of a Latina in the corporate world. We met at Columbus Metropolitan Library and discussed Palacios’ journey as an author and her creation of Pukiyari Publishing which promotes Latino authors from around the world right here in Columbus, Ohio.
Even if you haven’t met Luisa Talamás, you’ve surely encountered her work. As art director assistant for ¿Qué Pasa, Ohio State?, Talamás crafts the layout and design of the magazine. She continues to explore connections between art and function as a student of industrial design at Ohio State University. We met in her campus haunt (Hayes Hall) where she spoke of her passion for industrial design and decision to move to Columbus, Ohio from San Marcos, Texas.
Darsy Amaya is “all of it:” an immigrant, single mother, interpreter, entrepreneur, and artist. Seeking greater economic opportunity in the United States, Amaya’s mother moved her young family from Honduras to New York City when Amaya was only thirteen. Identifying as both an immigrant and an American helps Amaya serve as a cultural bridge for the Latinx community in her work as an interpreter and artist here in Columbus.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Andrea Magaña Lewis serves as Public Policy Officer for the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission (OCHLA). In this position, she develops programming that promotes community engagement and civic education while introducing Hispanic leadership in the state to government and elected officials. She bridges the state government and Ohio’s Latin American community to advocate for the state’s New American community.
Rubén Castilla Herrera was the first interview conducted for ¡Dímelo, Columbus! We met in September, the week following the Tyre King shooting. He has long been involved with many social justice issues in Columbus, Ohio – advocating for the Black Lives Matter movement, for migrant workers, immigrant rights, and refugees. Our conversation focused on the importance of recognition and understanding as well as the power of difference.
For a collective of community members and Ohio State students, dance is the key to cultural preservation. Álvaro Lozano and Maria Patiño are members of Folclor Hispano, a group at the Ohio State University dedicated to performing traditional dances from Spanish-Speaking countries. The organization highlights the uniqueness within Latin America by showcasing dances from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Peru, and Spain.