New York City Celebrates Immigrant Heritage Week from April 15 through April 21. This program is sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. As a part of the week’s programming, the NMAI Heye Center hosted Mixtecos in New York: Language and Identity in conjunction with the organization, Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture without Borders on Saturday, April 17. This program focused on the language and identity of the estimated 25,000 indigenous Mixteco people who make their home in the Greater New York region. Primarily settled in East Harlem, Staten Island, the Bronx, and the Upper West side, most members of this community come from the Mexican states of Guerrero and Oaxaca. Facing many special challenges in their new environment, these communities see the Mixteco language as a unifying factor in their community.
Leslie A Martino-Velez
Program participants Leslie Martino-Velez, an educator in Bilingual Education, and Flor de Maria Eilets, Director of Community Adult Education at LSA, shared insight and personal stories about working with Mixtecos in New York. Sebastian Vega (Mixteco) discussed his efforts to mainstream his language and culture in New York. Mano a Mano Executive Director, Emily Socolov, stated that the goal of the program was to give visitors a deeper understanding of the diversity within the migrant population of New York, while emphasizing the common threads that connect indigenous communities throughout the region.
Program Participants: Mariala Ureno, Luz Aquirre, Emily Socolov, Flor De Maria Eilets, John Haworth, Leslie A Martino-Velez, Sebastian Vega, Rebecca Madrigal.
Photos by Stephen Lang