Learn about the 2022 Latinx Midwest May Term course.
Stacey Alex had been looking for a way to build on stories of success and the history of the Latinx Midwest.
So, when asked to instruct a May Term class, she jumped at the chance.
“I have a short oral history collection of Zoom interviews with local Latino community members,” Alex reflected. “It’s still too short though, so I brought together some other oral histories the Iowa Women’s Archives Mujeres Latinas Project, the work of historian Omar Valerio-Jimenez, and Latina/o Studies Scholar Theresa Delgadillo to help students understand how Latino communities have been crucial to the Midwest.”Two students dancing in the Latinx Midwest class
Those materials plus learning to dance Cumbia, Merengue, and other styles along with field trips to Storm Lake, Denison, and Sioux Center because of their large Latino populations, have given students a new appreciation of the diversity of Latin American heritage.
Aubrey Cervantes was looking to understand more about her father’s background as she didn’t grow up in the Hispanic community that he did. “I’ve been able to understand from this that you can ask a question of several Latino individuals and get different stories about who they are,” she noted. “Being able to hear community leaders share their experiences has also been very gratifying.”
Duc Phan has come away with parallels about the Latino community that mirror what he and his family have experienced as Asian-Americans. “There just aren’t enough social life type things like restaurants, grocery stores, and so on available for either culture,” he admitted. “I think this type of a class allows us to see what we can do to further diversity. It’s not just in a classroom setting – it’s also experiential.”
Alex’s background allowed that type of cultural growth which she has shared throughout the offering.
“To me, the real experiential part of this class is having the students introduce themselves to public leaders of the Latino community,” she said. “I see them also getting an appreciation for taking time to get to know people and their perspectives. We developed questions that require them to be on the phone or talk with them in person during our trips.”Dr. Stacey Alex’s “Latinx Midwest” May Term course invited Morningside alumni Diego Marquez to host a Latino dance class for a day. Students got to feel the music as they learned authentic Cumbia, Merengue, and Bachata dances.
Alex says that, while growing up, she learned how to make these connections by watching her father, a retired reporter for the Des Moines Register. She added students can use these interview and interpersonal skills in any professional field in their future.
Alex’s class is also seeking to draw in the entire Morningside University and Sioux City community with a robust final project that deals with creating a map of local landmarks and Latino-owned businesses. “I’d like to have people use this and visit these different places,” she said. “Hopefully, as our students have, it will help others also value the economic, cultural, and social contributions made by Latino communities over many decades.”
Latinx Siouxland Google Map