Josué Vicente

Josué Vicente

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.

In Mexico, the two classes Josué Vicente despised most were English and technology. He laughs when he says this, explaining that working for OHCO requires two things of him daily: the use of English and his computer. Still, he finds the OHCO’s social programs incredibly fulfilling. Vicente oversees programming ranging from training of interpreters, educating police officers on how to use “tactical Spanish,” providing educational activities and food in a children’s after school program, and educating the community on issues of home safety and domestic abuse issues.

Vicente’s mental image of living in the United States did not correlate with the actuality of existing as a Mexican male in this country. He uses the difficulties in his experience now to help others. Listen for Josué Vicente’s amazing story on helping Latinos in the community defending his identity in Columbus, Ohio.

The Ohio Hispanic Coalition is also looking to build a Spanish-Speaking radio station on the West Side of Columbus. This would help the Latino community feel more connected not only to OHCO, but also the community. If you have any leads on radio technicians, feel free to contact the OHCO.

The United States – not like the movies:

🎧 Listen (6:44)
“When you come into America as a foreigner you have a different picture of what the country supposedly is… You live outside the United States, you see this country as a country of freedom. But, I fast learned that it wasn’t just the movies or that mentality that I thought it was going to be… When we come into the U.S., we would like to trust in the police… You get stopped by the wrong cop, they will arrest you, they will detain you, and there is nothing that you can do about it… That was one of the shock moments… that the system wasn’t really fair. That by the way I look, people would get afraid.”
“At school [in Mexico] the two classes that I hated the most were English and computer classes. So, now, I have to speak English every day and I have to use computers every day. So there’s something wrong with me I guess!”

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Promotoras de Salud in Columbus, Ohio:

🎧 Listen (2:32)
“Promotoras de Salud was established in Texas to reach out to farmworkers… They created this program, identifying community leaders, bringing them into the Promotoras de Salud program and then they teach them the right venues, the right process, where to go for services… When we brought it to Central Ohio, it was more urban and had to change a little bit. We built the capacity for Columbus Health to serve the Latino community… We are connecting the people with the system and the system with the people.”

The Ohio Hispanic Coalition:

🎧 Listen (4:28)
“We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency providing direct services to the community in four departments [advocacy, education, training, and access to quality services].”
Josué Vicente in Indianapolis receiving the Ohtli Award (Ohtli is a Nahuatl word that translates to “pathway” or “camino” in Spanish). Vicente was recognized by the Mexican Foreign Affairs for services to the Mexican community living in USA (photo compliments Josué Vicente).


🎧 Listen (4:18)
 “My identification is my name ‘Josué Vicente,’ right? Plain and simple… There are so many labels, people don’t know what to call you. They believe that it is ok to call you by country of origin. Which there’s nothing wrong with that. I feel very proud of being Mexican and being called Mexican as well. But at the end of the day; people that I know, my friends, people that I work with, people that I do business with, I make them pronounce my name, ‘Josué.'”
Unless otherwise noted, all photos and text are copyrighted to Leticia Wiggins. Music for introduction & interlude by The Original Soundtrack (thanks, guys!).

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