Melissa Gonzalez, Community Partner at "Salud" in Chicago
Melissa Gonzalez is one of the movers and shakers on the “Salud: Healing Through the Arts” program in Chicago.She answers two questions to give us a sense of who she is.
1. How does the immigrant issue touches you on a personal level?
I was born here in Chicago, in the neighborhood of Albany Park, a neighborhood that continues to be a port of entry for immigrants from across the world. My Father was born and raised in San Luis Potosi, Mexico and my mother born and raised in Naguabo, Puerto Rico. Both my parents came to Chicago on their own as young adults seeking opportunity as well as love. With little or no support from their families they were able to start a family and create a life here. Issues on immigration have always been a major topic of conversation throughout my upbringing and adult life, witnessing the complex transition my father went through to gain citizenship and being in the community I grew up in. I have worked and volunteered at various organizations focusing on legal immigration services, but have found that my true interest is working directly with youth in the immigrant community and finding resources for education.
2. Tell us about an interesting or wise practice from another culture that you wish people in the United States would adopt.
I very much enjoy and find important the culture of storytelling, it may not be so much a cultural practice than a generational practice but nonetheless, I notice less and less opportunities for young people to gather around and listen to the stories and tales of our elders. I know with all the great advances in communications, from text messages, gmail voice/video chat to the occasional blogging, people have much to say and more ways to share it. There is something to be said about sitting in front, face to face with someone who is telling their story and watching their expressions as well as they watch your reactions.
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This report (PDF 3.8MB) offers guidance for community organizations and those who fund social change in how best to harness the power of local media-making for community health improvement. Spanish-language version is now available. Una versión en español de este informe esta en la web.