12/16/17 Session #6

The opening question for this morning was inspired by a poem written by Nigerian Poet Ijeoma Umebinyuo. We reflected and shared what are we celebrating about ourselves at this moment? With many of us feeling drained from a busy semester or felt stressed over the upcoming holidays, it was important to take a moment to share gratitude for showing up this morning.

Our lecture presentation was lead by Dr. Jesse Mumm who is our resident Historian for our project and is a Latin American & Latino Studies professor at DePaul University. The lecture consisted on the history of early colonial settlement in the Americas and the push/pull factors for migration to the U.S. Below are a few of the highlights from the lecture:

“We can think of the Spanish conquest as a failed experiment. That there were always populations that resisted, who were beyond official imperial control.”

“Some slaves or migrants kept their original last names, others bought “common” last names in an attempt to better assimilate and a means to survive in a colonized state.”

Why do WE write history?
-To valorize those who are not valorized.
-To right a wrong.
-To shift a perception.
-To expose powerful lies.
-To take command of the present
-To argue for social change.
-To deepen a story.
-To take command of the present.

“When the indians win it’s called a massacre. When anglos win it’s called a battled.”

After the presentation we were challenged to think of what questions we had about our own family’s migration experience and lives. Our debrief questions for the lecture included:

How far back do you want to look? What eras interest you?
Where are the gaps in your family history?
What do you question, out of the things you have you been told? What needs to be explained?
Do you want to investigate your particular family events, or the wider cultures and societies around them?
Who do you want to write for?

We concluded our session by sharing the questions we gathered from our group. From our wide range of research questions we hope to learn much more about our families, our history and better inform what we know about ourselves.

How is internalized prejudice formed and what are the driving factors behind that? What does it me to be “Passing”? I want to study this from my mother’s and grandfather’s and my own experiences.”

“How do we forgive without forgetting the damages they did to my people by the Roman Catholic Church. The realizations of a Catholic Chicana.  “We don’t have this white Jesus anymore. Lupita is still on my wall. We are moving on, shifting away from this eurocentric religion.”

“Does having 2% African blood give me the right to say the “N” word? What are the implications behind using this word? 

“I want to know more about classism and internalized racism within my family. My dad’s family had money on the ranch. And had a maid who was referred to as “la negra.” I want to further explore race and class in Mexico, and how  mental illness informs that experience, while exploring my own mental illness. A lot of my father’s family lived lives that show signs of trauma and caused ongoing trauma.”

“I want to learn more about the town where my family is from which is Orocovis, Puerto Rico and more about taino culture.”




12/2/17 Session #5

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This morning was very anticipated by our youth and their families to complete and submit our 23andMe DNA kits! Over breakfast we were able to share with the families our process of the Brown In Chicago project from the previous year and what this new group of participants. At the end we held a small candle lighting ceremony and invited the parents/families to share a “wish” they have for their children as they anticipate their results over the next 4-6 weeks. Many parents expressed gratitude to be apart of this project, wished their children to feel more proud and confident about their culture and many blessings and we learn to honor our ancestors and history.