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.
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.