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.
Luis Fernando Macías not only co-edits ¿Qué Pasa Ohio State? Magazine with Marie Lerma, he is also a doctoral candidate in Ohio State’s Department of Teaching and Learning’s Multicultural and Equity Studies in Education. His lifelong interests in education and immigrant rights are present in his dissertation work which analyzes the tuition equity movement in Ohio led by diverse youth and young adults raised in the state, but with uncertain immigration status.
Dr. Jesus J. Lara works to create spaces that promote general well-being and contentment. As he puts it, he is in the business of “making people happy” by improving their surrounding environment. As an associate professor and Master’s Program Chair in the Knowlton School’s City and Regional Planning Section, Lara focuses his research and teaching practice on sustainable design while minding the relationship between people and space. Part of his studies considers how Latinos revitalize de-industrialized communities – both adapting to and transforming their surrounding environment.
The Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs (OCHLA) is one of longest-standing Latino serving organizations in the state. Founded in 1977, OCHLA seeks to advise, to connect, and to build the Latino community throughout Ohio. As OCHLA’s Community Liaison, Lair Marin-Marcum is making lasting connections between entrepreneurs, community, and institutions to improve Latino lives locally and state-wide.
Omar D’Angelo moved to Columbus from Mendoza, Argentina with his family in 2000 three days following his high school graduation. He arrived in Columbus with no knowledge of English. With the help of tutors, he learned the language and sought to pursue a college education. D’Angelo started school at Columbus State before transferring to Franklin University where he graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration. Throughout his education, D’Angelo continued to assist his family with growing their business.
A single visit to Ohio State inspired Yahaira Rose to become a Buckeye. In 1992, after graduating high school, she left her hometown of Yauco, Puerto Rico for Columbus, Ohio – moving to the city without knowing any English. Through ESL classes at Columbus State, she learned the language while working and matriculating to Ohio State. Rose continues to balance work and school as she pursues her PhD in Organizational Psychology and directs the Martin de Porres Center and Proyecto Mariposas [Project Butterfly].
When explaining her experience running Grrrls Rock Columbus – a rock camp that teaches instruments to a group of 12 to 18-year-old girls, trans, and gender variant youths – Meg Zakany is often met with comments like, “I’m sure there’s a lot of fighting.” The assumption exists that an all-girls’ space must be rife with competition and rampant emotions. This isn’t the case. Zakany and others help campers create their own powerful spaces for positive self-expression.
As a land-grant institution, The Ohio State University has a special responsibility to share its scientific-based research with its surrounding communities. To open avenues for community sharing, the university created a system to address local, national, and global needs through research-based educational programming in 1914 – this is the OSU Extension Program. Nora Hesse is one of the many important people who make up the OSU Extension Program Franklin County.
Your typical visitor to the U.S. art museum is more often than not affluent, white, and academically well-educated. As a Latina interested in and inspired by art, Verónica Betancourt often visits encyclopedic art museums – these are museums that claim a comprehensive representation of art history. Her experiences in these spaces are often rife with feelings of alienation and questions of her acceptance as a Latina in the museum’s narrative. Through her dissertation, Betancourt seeks to open these spaces to a more diverse population.