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DEEP AND WIDE: THE EXPANDED BORDER AND THE NEW (LATIN) AMERICAN SOUTH


Preface: Po r o u s o r E x p a n d e d B o r d e rs ?

This text and images in contained within the following pages represent an initial attempt to will help shape scholarly discussions of the border through the documentation of enacted Latinx landscapes and through explorations of the global f lows that now impact the United States from Califor nia to the Carolinas. This n a s c e n t r e s e a r c h a l s o e x a m i n e s p r o c e s s e s o f c u l t u r a l hy b r i d i t y a s t h e y a r e b e i n g n e g o t i a t e d i n t h e “ N e w S o u t h ” by c o m p a r i s o n to well established Latinx landscapes such as Los Angeles, CA. T h e s e t w o c i t i e s — C h a r l o t t e, N o r t h C a r o l i n a a n d L A — a r e e s s e n tially two crossing points along an expanded border landscape t h a t r e a c h e s w e l l b e yo n d g e o - p o l i t i c a l d e m a r c a t i o n s . This publication, which collects initial sketches of what we h o p e w i l l b e c o m e a n o n - g o i n g r e s e a r c h i n i t i a t i v e, i s a n o u t g r o w t h o f s e v e r a l t h i n g s : t w o s e m i n a r c o u r s e s a n d t h e 2 0 1 8 Po r o u s B o r d e r s C o n f e r e n c e h e l d a t Te x a s Te c h U n i v e r s i t y ’s E l Pa s o b a s e d C o l l e g e o f A r c h i t e c t u r e. T h e t w o c o u r s e s w e r e o f f e r e d i n t h e s p r i n g o f 2 0 1 8 a t U N C C h a r l o t t e ’s S c h o o l o f A r c h i t e c t u r e ( H i s t o r i e s o f L a t i n A m e r i c a n A r c h i t e c t u r e, w h i c h w a s t a u g h t by Jo s é Gámez; and Lear ning from LA & TJ—The Architecture of Seven E c o l o g i e s , w h i c h w a s t a u g h t by G u s t av o L e c l e r c ) a n d t h e y e a c h sought to explore an expanded sensibility of border conditions w i t h i n N o r t h A m e r i c a . Ta k i n g C h a r l o t t e a n d L o s A n g e l e s a s c a s e studies, these courses located contextual and theoretical discussions that connect specific local border conditions to global debates about contested spaces. T h e c o n f e r e n c e p r ov i d e d a c r i t i c a l p o i n t o f d e p a r t u r e f o r t h e w o r k t a k e n o n i n t h e c o u r s e s i n C h a r l o t t e. T h e c o n f e r e n c e t h e m e s o f C o n t e s t a t i o n / Re s i s t a n c e, D i s s o l u t i o n , S y n t h e s i s , a n d Tr a n s g r e s s i o n / Re c i p r o c i t y, f o r e x a m p l e, f r a m e d t h e w o r k t h a t students in Gámez’ class undertook. Starting from a position of p o s t - c o l o n i a l c r i t i q u e, H i s t o r i e s o f L a t i n A m e r i c a n A r c h i t e c t u r e e x a m i n e d t h e w a y s by w h i c h L a t i n A m e r i c a n a r c h i t e c t u r e s ( b o t h n o r t h a n d s o u t h o f t h e U S / M e x i c o b o r d e r a n d ov e r t i m e ) h av e c o m e t o


be seen within the architectural c a n o n a s a w h o l e. U n t i l r e c e n t ly and with the exception of Pre-Columbian art and architect u r e, t h e r e h a s b e e n l i t t l e s c h o l a r l y i nv e s t i g a t i o n o f t h e t o p i c within the field of architecture particularly as it relates to the c o n t e m p o r a r y c i t y, c u l t u r e s a n d global conditions. Given recent population trends within t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s , t h i s ov e r s i g h t in scholarship has limited the d i s c i p l i n e ’s a b i l i t y t o a d d r e s s a g rowing portion of the American public at large and significant new demographic in the Southeaster n United States. Theref o r e, t h i s c l a s s c ov e r e d a v a s t geographic and temporal landscape in an effort to g round a critical dialog focused upon the role of Latinx cultural identities in contemporary architecture and urbanism. L e c l e r c ’s L e a r n i n g f r o m L A & TJ—T he Architecture of Seven Ecologies looked to the Los Angeles and Souther n Califor nia region as macro-frontiers that e x t e n d w e l l b e yo n d t h e U S - M e x i c o b o r d e r a n d h av e i n f l u e n c e d art, cultural and design practices

w o r l d w i d e. B y e x a m i n i n g t h i s r e g i o n a s a l i m i n a l s p a c e, s t u d e n t s were introduced (both figuratively through texts and literally through a study “abroad” trip) to a dynamic post-border cultural corridor that stretches from Los Angeles to Tijuana, Mexico. What the students witnessed was a geographic zone with its own unique spatial, cultural and artistic per mutations and for ms. The class aimed to explore the different historical, cultura l a n d p hy s i c a l f o r c e s t h a t h av e made Los Angeles a paradigmatic place for social and cultural experimentation that has given rise to a wide range of per mutations of artistic, architectural and popular culture influenced by t h r e e m a j o r c u l t u r a l s t r e a m s : historic prog ressive Califor nia ethos, Chicano (Mexican Ameri c a n ) C u l t u r e, a n d M e x i c a n Immigrant. I n a s e n s e, t h e s t u d e n t s w e r e asked to examine the Spanglish-tur n that the region has t a k e n , i n p a r t , t o p r ov i d e a frame of reference for cities in other parts of the United States l i k e C h a r l o t t e.

Using the themes of the conf e r e n c e a s p o i n t s o f d e p a r t u r e, these two classes collaborated to explore a bi-coastal set of bi-cultural conditions that were initially collected for presentat i o n a t t h e Po r o u s B o r d e r s c o n f e r e n c e i n t h e C o n t e s t a t i o n / Re sistance session held on March 30, 2018. The themes that were e x p l o r e d by t h e c o n f e r e n c e m a y seem obviously relevant to cities like Los Angeles—perhaps less so w i t h r e g a r d t o C h a r l o t t e. H o w e v e r, r e c e n t s t u d i e s p o i n t t o l a r g e r discussions about immigration, culture and border conditions, particularly in light of the Charl o t t e ’s r e c e n t d e s i g n a t i o n a s a n e w i m m i g r a n t g a t e w a y. A s Ja m i e Wi n d e r s h a s p o i n t e d out, “The strands that interl a c e r a c e, e t h n i c i t y, a n d p l a c e i n t h e S o u t h a r e b e i n g w ov e n into something new and potentially different through Latino m i g r a t i o n . ” I n t h i s s e n s e, o u r question of whether the border is porous or expanded arose from a thought that the US/Mexico border is both approximately 2,000 miles long and 2,000 miles w i d e. A s s u c h , C h a r l o t t e m a y b e


viewed as located within a broad border landscape that now contributes to a new (South) Americ a n u r b a n i t y. The spatial territories and social networks within which Latinx immig rant populations live and work in the South - a realm of unseen border walls and infor mal architectures - offers opportunities to construct new hy b r i d m o d e l s o f s p a t i a l p r a c tices and identities that parallel and may differ from those found in places like LA. As Mirjana L o z a n ov s k a n o t e s , “ a r c h i t e c t u r e appears to define the identity of places, highlighting that the production of mig rant architectural a n d u r b a n e nv i r o n m e n t s … p r e s ent alter native cultural references and readings that are seen as contesting the aesthetic traditions of the cities and countries in which they are constructed.” In many ways, Charlotte is now a part of a larger South American condition—a condition that is inclusive of the two hemispheres and of a diversity of cultures. Latinos are blurring geographic and political borders by “ . . . r e m a k i n g s p a c e i n n ov e l

ways that cannot be assimilated.” This text and images in contained within the following pages represent our initial attempt map this porous and expanded border sensibility and this expanded South American sensibili t y. Wi t h t h e h e l p o f o u r s t u dents, we hope that the contents of this publication prompt new visions of these two cities and the many others that existing within a g rowing constellation.4

Jo s é L . S . G á m e z April 2018 Charlotte, NC

Notes: 1 . W i n d e rs, Ja m i e . 2 0 0 5 . “ C h a n g i n g Po l i t i c s o f R a c e a n d R e g i o n : L a t i n o M i g r a t i o n t o t h e U. S . South.” Prog ress in Human Geog raphy 29(6): 683-699. 2. Lazanovska, Mir jana. 2016. E t h n o - A r c h i t e c t u r e a n d t h e Po l i t i c s of Mig ration. London: Routledge. 3 . D a v i s, M i k e . 2 0 0 0 . M a g i c a l U r b a n i s m : L a t i n o s R e i n v e n t t h e U. S . B i g C i t y. N e w Yo r k : Ve rs o. 4 T h e p r o c e e d i n g s o f t h e Po r o u s B o r d e rs c o n f e r e n c e w i l l b e p u bl i s h e d i n t h e f o r t h c o m i n g i s s u e o f AU L A (Architecture and Urbanism in Latin A m e r i c a ) a n d w i l l i n cl u d e a n e d i t e d v e rs i o n o f t h i s p u bl i c a t i o n ; t h e r e f o r e , t h e i m a g e s a n d t e x t i n cl u d e d h e r e a r e intended to serve as a compliment to jour nal.


TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S 12 24 30 34 40 44 50

DEEP & WIDE DISSOLVING BORDERS BETWEEN TWO CULTURES BORDER CONDITONS IN CABARRUS CO EASTLAND MALL & THE CASE FOR INFORMALITY PITCH PERFECT? MONROE, NC


DEEP & WIDE: T h e E x p a n d e d B o r d e r, A Pa i r o f Q u e e n s , a n d t h e New (Latin) American South

Po r o u s B o r d e rs / AU L A C o n f e r e n c e P r e s e n t a t i o n

Pa n e l : Contestation/Resistance A u t h o rs : Jo s e L . G a m e z , A s s o c i a t e P r o f e s s o r, U n i v e rs i t y o f North Carolina Charlotte & G u s t a v o L e cl e r c, V i s i t i n g A s s i s t a n t P r o f e s s o r, U n i v e rs i ty of North Carolina Charlotte

Abstract The spatial territories and social networks within which Latinx immig rant populations live and work in the South offers robust opportunities to e x p l o r e n e w hy b r i d m o d e l s o f s p a t i a l p r a c t i c e s and identities. By contrast, long established Latino neighborhoods such as those in Boyle Heights o r E a s t L o s A n g e l e s , w h i c h a r e w h a t Ja m e s Ro jas has called “enacted landscapes”, now feel the pressures of gentrification—pressures that threate n p r e v i o u s l y hy b r i d i z e d u r b a n s p a c e s w i t h m a i n stream homogenization. This essay highlights “(t)he strands that int e r l a c e r a c e, e t h n i c i t y, a n d p l a c e i n t h e S o u t h ” a n d i n t h e w e s t t h a t “ a r e b e i n g w ov e n i n t o s o m e thing new and potentially different through Latino mig ration” and through contemporary forces of u r b a n i z a t i o n . T h i s n e w s e t o f c i r c u m s t a n c e s h av e both similarities and differences that link east coast “new gateway” cities with west cost “est a b l i s h e d ” L a t i n x c e n t e r s . I n t h i s s e n s e, i d e a o f a porous and expanded border—one that is both approximately 2,000 miles deep and 2,000 miles w i d e, p o s i t i o n L o s A n g e l e s

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Introduction The spatial territories and social networks within which Latinx immig rant populations live and work in the South offers robust opportunities to e x p l o r e n e w hy b r i d m o d e l s o f s p a t i a l p r a c t i c e s and identities. By contrast, long established Latino neighborhoods such as those in Boyle Heights o r E a s t L o s A n g e l e s , w h i c h a r e w h a t Ja m e s Ro jas has called “enacted landscapes”, now feel the pressures of gentrification—pressures that threate n p r e v i o u s l y hy b r i d i z e d u r b a n s p a c e s w i t h m a i n stream homogenization.1 W h a t o n e f i n d s w h e n e x p l o r i n g t h e hy b r i d i t y that such landscapes represent is that the spatial and cultural transfor mations enacted upon and w i t h i n U S c i t i e s a n d r e g i o n s by L a t i n x c u l t u r e s are occurring in places previously thought of as f a r r e m ov e d f r o m b o r d e r r e g i o n s l i k e t h e s o u t h wester n United States. The basic premise underlying this collaborative research project is that Latinx diasporas represent a dynamic expanding c o n s t e l l a t i o n t h a t i s b o t h d e e p a n d w i d e. I n o t h e r words, we view the geo-political border that divides the United States and Mexico as both porous and expanded—as both approximately 2,000 miles d e e p a n d 2 , 0 0 0 m i l e s w i d e. This expanded border condition can be found in a range of places but Los Angeles and Charlotte h o w o c c u py c r i t i c a l t h r e s h o l d s i n t o 2 1 s t c e n t u r y t r a n s n a t i o n a l s p a c e s . B y u s i n g L A a n d C LT r e lated points within a newly visible network, this paper will highlight

“ ( t ) h e s t r a n d s t h a t i n t e r l a c e r a c e, e t h n i c i t y, a n d p l a c e i n t h e S o u t h ” a n d i n t h e we s t t h a t “ a r e b e i n g wo ve n into something new and potentially dif ferent through Latino mig ration” and through contemporary forces of urbanizat i o n 2 T h i s n e w s e t o f c i r c u m s t a n c e s h av e b o t h similarities and differences that link east coast “new gateway” cities with west cost “established” Latinx centers. The interface between social (intangible) and spatial (tangible) practices challenges traditional notions of cultural architecture and architectural culture and of critical art express i o n s . A s M i r j a n a L o z a n ov s k a n o t e s ,

“architecture appears to define t h e i d e n t i t y o f p l a c e s, h i g h l i g h t i n g that the production of mig rant architectural and urban environments … p r e s e n t a l t e r n a t i ve c u l t u r a l r e f e r e n c es and readings that are seen as con-

testing the aesthetic traditions of the c i t i e s a n d c o u n t r i e s i n wh i c h t h e y a r e constr ucted.”3 A r e a s i n L o s A n g e l e s h av e l o n g b e e n e m b e d d e d w i t h a r i c h s e t o f c u l t u r a l t r a d i t i o n s t h a t h av e not only remapped but also reimagined the city a s a w h o l e. I n m a n y w a y s , t h e c r e a t i o n o f a r t i s t i c a n d c u l t u r a l w o r k s , i s i n f o r m e d by s p e c i f i c i t i e s o f p l a c e a n d s t r u g g l e s f o r v i s i b i l i t y ; w h e r e yo u a r e, a n d a t w h a t t i m e, h av e c o n s t i t u t i v e e f f e c t s o n t h e k i n d o f w o r k yo u p r o d u c e. E s p e c i a l l y d u r i n g t i m e s of social, economic, or political tur moil, there are opportunities for radically creative cultural practices that can result in altered for ms of art and a r c h i t e c t u r e. S u c h c r e a t i v e p r o c e s s e s a r e b o t h a ref lection of changing contexts but also an act of re-creation: they are inter pretive strategies that p r ov i d e o p p o r t u n i t i e s t o r e i m a g i n e, e v e n t r a n scend the present. I n a s e n s e, b e i n g i n L A i s a s m u c h a b o u t t r a n scending literal and figurative spaces as it is about witnessing the place where Manifest Destiny finall y c a m e t o a j o l t i n g s t o p. B e i n g i n L A i s a s m u c h about crossing a border at every cor ner as much as i t i s a b o u t i n h a b i t i n g a m u l t i - l a ye r e d c i t y i n e v e r y i n s t a n c e. T h i s l a ye r e d b o r d e r s e n s i b i l i t y h a s n o w e x p a n d e d a n d d r a w n C h a r l o t t e, N C , i n t o i s b o u n d a r i e s . C h a r l o t t e, i n t h i s s e n s e, i s n o w a p a r t o f a global South (American) condition—a condition that is inclusive of the two hemispheres and of a diversity of cultures and that challenges historic cultural and spatial patter ns in the region. In that s e n s e, C h a r l o t t e a n d L o s A n g e l e s c a n b e s e e n a s part of a larger network, as a set of interconnected spaces—as a pair of Queen Cities. Latinos are blurring geographic and political borders in both c i t i e s a n d a c r o s s r e g i o n s by “ . . . r e m a k i n g s p a c e i n n ov e l w a y s t h a t c a n n o t b e a s s i m i l a t e d . ” 4 B y p a i r i n g t h e s e s c i t i e s t o g e t h e r, a r a n g e o f n a s c e n t similarities between new and established gateway cities can be highlighted, which can help illustrate how much of the US is now embedded within a larger South American condition. What’s in a Name? T h e s e t w o Q u e e n C i t i e s h av e m o r e i n c o m mon than simple nicknames. In fact, the g rowing number of Latinos within Charlotte and its surrounding areas has given rise to some very visible for ms of similarity between these two separate but n o w r e l a t e d u r b a n l a n d s c a p e s . Fo r e x a m p l e, t a c o trucks, paleteros, and other evidence of what Mike D av i s h a s c a l l e d a “ m o r e ‘ c l a s s i c a l ’ w a y o f l i v i n g in the city based on g regarious, communitarian uses of markets, boulevards (and) parks” can be f o u n d i n m a n y a r e a s t h r o u g h o u t C h a r l o t t e. 5 H e r e,


streets, sidewalks, yards and parking lots bristle with activity—often in contrast to the almost non-existent public life of many contemporary urban and suburban communities.

immigration (the southeaster n US has not been a significant part of global migration patter ns h i s t o r i c a l l y b u t t h i s h a s c h a n g e d ov e r t h e p a s t t w o decades).

But, this new urbanity has not come without a c e r t a i n c o s t . Te n s i o n s a r o u n d t h e c i t y a n d r e g i o n h av e b e g u n t o f l a r e p r e c i s e l y b e c a u s e f u n d a m e n t a l questions about the identity of local urban spaces h av e b e e n c h a l l e n g e d . Pa r t s o f C h a r l o t t e n o w f e e l l i k e p a r t s o f E a s t L A ; C h a r l o t t e ’s u r b a n i t y i s n o l o n g e r t h a t o f t h e t r a d i t i o n a l S o u t h e r n c i t y. O n e r e c e n t e x a m p l e o f t h e t e n s i o n s t h a t h av e e m e r g e d w a s r e p o r t e d i n C h a r l o t t e ’s d a i l y n e w s p a p e r, t h e C h a r l o t t e O b s e r v e r. T h e p a p e r r a n a s t o r y d o c u menting the appearance of an A-frame commercial roadside placard that encouraged drivers to “Honk i f yo u h a t e S p a n i s h . 6 T h i s a r t i c l e w a s p u b l i s h e d at a time during which social service organizat i o n s c a t e r i n g t o L a t i n o s h av e r e p o r t e d h a t e - b a s e d e m a i l s a n d E n g l i s h - o n l y i n i t i a t i v e s h av e b e c o m e f o d d e r f o r l o c a l c i t y - c o u n c i l d e b a t e s . C h a r l o t t e, like many of its neighboring towns, is facing rising frustrations stemming from the impacts of recent

I n f a c t , m a n y s o u t h e r n s t a t e s h av e e x p e r i e n c e d t h e c o u n t y ’s m o s t e x p l o s i v e i m m i g r a t i o n g r o w t h i n t h e ye a r s b e t w e e n 1 9 9 0 a n d 2 0 0 5 d u r i n g w h i c h L a t i n o d e m o g r a p h i c s r o s e by t r i p l e d i g i t s : 3 9 4 % i n N o r t h C a r o l i n a a l o n e w i t h g r o w t h o f w e l l ov e r 1 0 0 % i n e a c h o f t h e C a r o l i n a s , G e o r g i a , Te n n e s s e e, a n d A r k a n s a s . O n e r e s u l t o f t h i s t r e n d is that the largest percent increases occurred in w h a t Ro b e r t o S u r o a n d A u d r e y S i n g e r h av e c a l l e d “new Latino destinations”—cities such as Atlanta, O r l a n d o , a n d C h a r l o t t e. 7 T h e S o l i d S o u t h , w h i c h h a s h i s t o r i c a l l y b e e n s h a p e d by a B l a c k / W h i t e b i n a r y, i s m e l t i n g i n t o t h e a i r o f m u l t i c u l t u r a l moder nity; and, states such as North Carolina are now confronting the “complex nature of race relations in a post-civil rights era” in which bi-racial frameworks are “unable to g rasp the patter ns of conf lict and accommodation among several increasingly large racial/ethnic g roups.”8


The per manent settlement of Latino immigrants has begun to reshape several areas of Charl o t t e — a c i t y b e t t e r k n o w n f o r i t s n a m e s a k e, Q u e e n Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, than for its thriving immig rant communities. And, while Los Angeles remains a significant Latino immigration c e n t e r, r e c e n t i m m i g r a t i o n p a t t e r n s h av e c h a n g e d , t h e r e by i n t r o d u c i n g a Pa n - L a t i n c u l t u r a l d i m e n sion into the predominantly Mexican and Mexican-American landscape of places like East LA. A d d i t i o n a l l y, c i t i e s s u c h a s L o s A n g e l e s a n d N e w Yo r k ( t h e f i v e b o r o u g h s i n c l u d e d ) r e m a i n h o m e s t o t h e l a r g e s t L a t i n o p o p u l a t i o n s i n t h e U S w i t h ov e r two million Latin residents in the two cities comb i n e d ( a s o f t h e ye a r 2 0 0 0 ) .

t o c h t h o n o u s t o L o s A n g e l e s , a c u l t u r a l hy b r i d i t y t h a t c o n t a i n s i t s o w n n ov e l a e s t h e t i c a n d f o r m a l expressions

Ye t , d e s p i t e t h e i r d e s i g n a t i o n s a s t h e c i t i e s w i t h the highest numbers of newly arrived mig rants, the sheer local demog raphic volume of each population easily absorbs even high rates of newcomers—thus, long established mig ration centers such as LA demonstrate patter ns of slow Latino g rowth. This scenario contrasts g reatly with the relatively low Latino demographic pools in the southeaster n US into which comparatively high numbers o f m i g r a n t s h av e j u m p e d . T h i s s p a t i a l s h i f t h a s made virtually the entire US below Interstate 40 an emerging Latin heartland with significant Latino populations in both major cities and increasingly in many small town and rural areas. In a s e n s e, t h e b o r d e r b e t w e e n t h e U S a n d i t s L a t i n o O t h e r s e e m s t o b e s h i f t i n g w e l l b e yo n d t h e l i n e o f d e m a r c a t i o n e s t a b l i s h e d by t h e 1 8 4 8 Tr e a t y o f Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Speaking in (Border) Tongues/ the Spanglish Turn Wr i t e r a n d p o e t Ru b é n M a r t í n e z h a s d e s c r i b e d his life in Los Angeles as a “blend of cultures, languages, and ideologies (Anglo/Latino, Spanish/ English, individualist/collectivist)”—as a life in both the North and the South and neither simultan e o u s l y. 9 Fo r M a r t í n e z , t h e c u l t u r a l d i v i s i o n s t h a t L A r e p r e s e n t s h av e b e c o m e e m b o d i e d a n d l i v e d e x p r e s s i o n s o f a b o r d e r m e n t a l i t y. L o s A n g e l e s h a s long contended with such border conditions and with the need to speak multiple languages simultaneously; LA has long been a city that has had to address differing cultural g roups with differing languages (both visual and spoken). It also includes its visual themes and material outcomes, and how these changes impact current and future a r c h i t e c t u r e. T h e p r o c e s s d e s c r i b e d h e r e i s r e f e r r e d t o a s t h e “ t h e S p a n g l i s h Tu r n . ” 1 0

It is within this context that our work has emerged. Los Angeles remains a Latino core and i t s s u c c e s s i v e l a ye r s o f L a t i n o r e s i d e n t s ( f r o m b o t h s i d e s o f t h e b o r d e r ) h av e h e l p e d t o e s t a b lish a variety of unique cultural landscapes. East L o s A n g e l e s , i n p a r t i c u l a r, s e r v e s a s a c u l t u r a l homeland and it is, in some ways, a moder n day A t z l á n — “ E a s t L o s ” s e r v e s a s b o t h a p hy s i c a l a n d a n i m a g i n e d g e o g r a p hy t o w h i c h t h e r o o t s o f a p a r t i c u l a r hy b r i d A m e r i c a n i d e n t i t y a r e t i e d . A n d , i n t h i s l e g a c y o f L a t i n o u r b a n i t y, w e s e e h i n t s o f what Charlotte may soon gain. Los Angeles, currently in a time of radical c h a n g e i t s e l f i s o n e l o c a t i o n w h e r e n e w hy b r i d i t i e s a r e c r e a t e d , a p r o c e s s w h i c h i s h e av i l y i n f l u e n c e d by t h e c h a n g i n g c u l t u r a l d y n a m i c s o f L o s A n g e l e s . This process, along with the current urban turm o i l , p r o d u c e s a n e m e r g e n t hy b r i d c u l t u r e, v i s i b l e in the arts, and contemporary urban practices, a n d a r c h i t e c t u r e. T h i s i nv e s t i g a t i o n d e s c r i b e s a n d e x p l a i n s t h e p r o c e s s by w h i c h hy b r i d s a r e c r e a t e d a s t h e r e s u l t o f t h e c o nv e r g e n c e o r m i x i n g o f t w o or more cultural spheres or traditions. It explores t h e d y n a m i c s o f a s p e c i a l t y p e o f hy b r i d i t y a u -

H o w e v e r, i t i s u n c l e a r w h a t f o r m s u c h a n u r b a n identity may take within this new context. The s o u t h e a s t , u n l i k e t h e s o u t h w e s t e r n U S, e x h i b i t s a f luid landscape in which the seeds of a pan-American cultural identity are only now beginning to become established. In the QC (local slang for the Queen City), one has to seek out the spatial practices of an emerging Latinidad in order to unders t a n d h o w c h a n g i n g m i g r a t i o n p a t t e r n s h av e b e g u n to transfor m new Latino destinations.

I n t e r e s t i n g l y, C h a r l o t t e h a s n o t b e e n u n a w a r e of such a need to community across multiple a u d i e n c e s . L i k e m o s t s o u t h e r n c i t i e s s h a p e d by a history of bi-racial struggles, Charlotte has a long history of speaking in differing tongues to reach a t l e a s t t w o a u d i e n c e s s i m u l t a n e o u s l y. H o w e v e r, the current era of immigration and urban change has forced Charlotte to adopt a new set of dialects—dialects in which “Mí reina ” is becoming as common a phrase in some areas of town as the “Queen City” might be in others. What unites these two cities in this context is their ability to hold multiple dialogs across a set of competing constituencies. And, it is this kind of multivalent d i a l o g t h a t t h e w o r k o n v i e w h e r e s e e k s t o e n g a g e. Both g roups of students—the faculty and students at both UNCC and in two different but related classes—aimed to develop an ability to speak in the various tongues that one might hear within the borderlands of their respective urban locations. Each of the students became ethnog raphers a n d c r i t i c a l c u l t u r a l a r t i s t s i nv o l v e d i n a s e a r c h for culturally flexible; each sought to establish a


dialog across cultures, spaces, and times. In one s e n s e, t h e a r t i s t s i nv o l v e d e x e r c i s e d a f o r m o f cultural fluency that blurred east coast and west coast, English and Spanish, North and South. Spanglish became a necessary way of speaking and o f s e e i n g t h e c o n t e m p o r a r y c i t y. This is a type of cultural flexibility that has allowed these artists to operate within what cultural theorist Homi Bhabha has described as a thirds p a c e o f c u l t u r a l e x p r e s s i o n . Fr o m t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e, t h e l a n g u a g e s t h a t e m e r g e w i t h i n a b o r d e r landscape may be considered vehicles for intervention— vehicles for “an encounter with ‘newness’ that is not a part of the continuum of the past and present…(that creates) a sense of the new as a n i n s u r g e n t a c t c u l t u r a l t r a n s l a t i o n . ” 11 Mexopolis: Latino Metropolis,Major Luminous Points Based on recent demographic data, it can be s a i d t h a t L . A . i s a d e f a c t o L a t i n A m e r i c a n c i t y. I t i s , by m a n y m e a s u r e s , t h e m o s t L a t i n i z e d A m e r ican metropolis in this country although other “A m e r i c a n ” c i t i e s a r e e x p e r i e n c i n g s i m i l a r t r e n d s b u t o f t e n a t d i f f e r e n t s c a l e s . I n a s e n s e, a l l N o r t h A m e r i c a n c i t i e s a n d t o w n s ( b e yo n d M e x i c o ) t h a t a r e b e i n g t r a n s f o r m by i m m i g r a n t L a t i n o x c u l t u r e s for m an constellation of luminous points along an expanded border—each shining at different intens i t i e s a n d c r e a t i n g a d y n a m i c p o r o u s s p a c e. C u r r e n t l y, t h e e f f e c t o f M e x i c a n i m m i g r a n t a n d Chicano cultures in Los Angeles has reached a t i p p i n g p o i n t o f i n f l u e n c e, s o t h a t m a n y f o r m s o f popular culture originating in this city are awash i n i t s s t y l e, f r o m m u s i c , t o v i s u a l m e d i a , t o f o o d , t o f a s h i o n , t o c a r c u l t u r e, v i s u a l a r t s a n d a r c h i t e c t u r e. E a c h o f t h e s e c u l t u r a l s p h e r e s , f i e l d s o r m a terial objects is susceptible to the particularities o f t i m e a n d p l a c e. I n L o s A n g e l e s , t h e d y n a m i c s o f c u l t u r a l hy b r i d i t y a r e t h e r e s u l t o f t h e c o n f l u ence of three major cultural flows: the historic prog ressive Califor nia ethos, the Mexican-Ameri c a n o r C h i c a n o p r e s e n c e, a n d t h e L a t i n o / M e x i c a n i m m i g r a n t d i a s p o r a . H o w e v e r, t h i s i m m i g r a n t s o c i o - s p a t i a l g e n e t i c / a r t i s t i c D NA i s e x p a n d i n g into many US regions and cities, including North Carolina and the New South. This project, this essay and the gallery of student imagery that follows, is part of a collaborative search for the outlines of this new constellation and its imagined and real impacts upon the cultural landscape of the Charlotte metropolitan area. It is important to point out that the projects illustrated in the following pages emerged from two parallel courses and that focused upon

two Latinx landscapes—our two Queen Cities—as Mexopoleis or as Latinx-opoleis. Our work has e m e r g e d , i n a s e n s e, t h r o u g h b o t h i n d i v i d u a l a n d collective engagements with the these two cities, their sites/sights, and diverse cultures in an effort to capture snapshots of emergent points along a radically expanded border with which to compare t o m o r e l u m i n o u s p o i n t s t h a t h av e l o n g b e e n a central part of a borderland. Such collaborative efforts are not without precedent: both the UNC Charlotte g roups operated much like g rupos, or collective artistic g roups, t h a t a r e a l e g a c y o f m a n y g r a s s r o o t s a r t s m ov e m e n t s . G r u p o s w e r e, i n f a c t , a k e y c o m p o n e n t o f t h e C h i c a n o M ov e m e n t i n C a l i f o r n i a , i n p a r t i c u l a r, a n d t h e y w e r e o f t e n f o r m e d a r o u n d l o c a l a r t centers interested in promoting the artistic integ ration of political expression, visual voice and community-based communication. T h i s c o l l e c t i o n o f w o r k s ( s o m e d o c u m e n t a r y, s o m e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a l ) , t h e r e f o r e, m a y b e s e e n a s successive projects within a particular family of resemblances—entities within an on-going set of c u l t u r a l n e g o t i a t i o n s a n d t r a n s l a t i o n s . 12 A d d i t i o n a l l y, t h i s w a s a p r o c e s s t h a t r e s e m b l e s w h a t t h e o r i s t M a r c i a Ro b e r t s - D e u t s c h h a s d e s c r i b e d a s a dialogical aesthetics, or a social practice aimed not only to redefine aesthetic value but also to redefine the role of art not as an object of gaze but as a tool for empower ment, for the cultivation of c o m m u n i t y, a n d f o r t h e s h a p i n g o f r e l a t i o n s h i p s . 1 3 The students, working with Gámez and Leclerc w e r e i nv i t e d i n t o a s e t o f s y m b o l i c w o r l d s w i t h ties to concrete realities that they collectively s h a r e d . H o w e v e r, t h i s w a s n o t a p r o c e s s i n w h i c h instructors taught students; the students thems e l v e s w e r e e m p o w e r e d t o b r i n g t h e i r o w n i nv e s t i gations, analysis, insights, and visions to the process. They were introduced to a set of practices t h a t p r ov i d e d t h e m w i t h a m e a n s t o e x p l o r e a s e t of borderland conditions first hand, to write their own narratives, to craft their own artistic expressions, and to document a set of threshold South A m e r i c a n l a n d s c a p e s n o r t h o f t h e U. S. / M e x i c o b o r d e r. Such a process requires that a for m of trans-cultural aesthetics emerge—it requires a practice that seeks a multivalent cultural condition in order to g i v e v o i c e ( s ) t o c o m p e t i n g v i s i o n s o f t h e c i t y. I n a c e r t a i n w a y, C h a r l o t t e a n d L o s A n g e l e s n o w s h a r e the attribute of being border towns. Los Angeles has long engaged with the various languages that cut across cultural border conditions. It is a city that has witnessed the shifting of geo-political borderlines while its populations remained in


p l a c e. I t i s a c i t y t h a t t o d a y c o n t i n u e s t o d e a l w i t h the legacy of a border condition even as immig r a t i o n a n d m i g r a t i o n h av e b l u r r e d t h e l i n e s t h a t divide North from South, English from Spanish, a n d m a j o r i t y f r o m m i n o r i t y.

Po l i c y I s s u e s t o t h e Ye a r 2 0 2 0 : T h e S t a t e o f A s i a n Pa c i f i c A m e r i c a — A P u b l i c Po l i c y Re p o r t ( L o s A n g e l e s : L E A P A s i a n Pa c i f i c A m e r i c a n P u b l i c Po l i c y Institute/UCLA Asian American Studies Center) 9.

Charlotte too has begun to contend with the complex set of languages that emerge once a simp l e d i v i s i o n b e t w e e n c o m m u n i t i e s b e g i n s t o b l u r. Charlotte has begun to witness the erasure of the line that has historically separated/united Black a n d W h i t e. T h e v o i d l e f t b e h i n d by t h e e r a s u r e o f s u c h a l i n e h a s a l s o p r ov i d e d a b l u r r e d f i e l d f o r new voices to enter into the text. This collective project has stepped into the spaces left behind as o l d e r s t r u c t u r e s h av e b e g u n t o b e d i s p l a c e d . T h i s s e t o f c o l l e c t i v e w o r k s c r e a t e d by t w o d i f f e r i n g b u t r e l a t e d g r o u p s i nv i t e s yo u t o e n t e r i n t o t h a t blurred space and to explore the emerging urbanities within.

9 . Ru b é n M a r t í n e z , 1 9 9 3 . T h e O t h e r S i d e : N o t e s f r o m t h e N e w L . A . , M e x i c o C i t y, a n d B e yo n d ( N e w Yo r k : Vi n t a g e D e p a r t u r e s ) 3 - 4 .

Endnotes 1 . S e e Ja m e s Ro j a s , 1 9 9 1 . T h e E n a c t e d E nv i r o n m e n t — T h e C r e a t i o n o f P l a c e by M e x i c a n s a n d Mexican Americans in East Los Angeles. Unpublished Thesis (Cambridge: MIT Department of Architecture). 2 . Ja m e Wi n d e r s , 2 0 0 5 . “ C h a n g i n g Po l i t i c s o f R a c e a n d Re g i o n : L a t i n o M i g r a t i o n t o t h e U. S. S o u t h . ” P r o g r e s s i n H u m a n G e o g r a p hy 2 9 ( 6 ) : 6 8 3 699. 3 M i r j a n a L a z a n ov s k a , 2 0 1 6 . E t h n o - A r c h i t e c t u r e a n d t h e Po l i t i c s o f M i g r a t i o n ( L o n d o n : Ro u t ledge). 4 M i k e D av i s , 2 0 0 0 . M a g i c a l U r b a n i s m : L a t i n o s Re i nv e n t t h e U. S. B i g C i t y ( N e w Yo r k : Ve r s o ) . 5. Ibid. 6. The article recounted storeowner Earl B r o w n’s r e a c t i o n t o t h e d r a m a t i c a l l y a l t e r e d l a n d s c a p e o f M o n r o e, N C , a s a r e s u l t o f i m m i g r a t i o n t r e n d s ; s e e : Ju l i a O l i v e r, 2 0 0 7 . “ S t o r e O w n e r U s e s Sign to Criticize Latino Inf lux” in The Charlotte O b s e r v e r 2 2 M a y. 1 A , 6 A . 7 . S e e : Ro b e r t o S u r o a n d A u d r e y S i n g e r, 2 0 0 0 . “Latino Growth in Metropolitan America: Changi n g Pa t t e r n s , N e w L o c a t i o n s , ” t h e B r o o k i n g s Institution Survey Series Census; see also: Betsy G u z m á m , 2 0 0 0 . T h e H i s p a n i c Po p u l a t i o n : C e n s u s B r i e f , U S D e p a r t m e n t o f C o m m e r c e, E c o n o m i c s and Statistics Administration, Census Bureau. 8. Michael Omi, 1993. “Out of the Melting Po t a n d I n t o t h e F i r e : R a c e Re l a t i o n s Po l i c y, ” i n

1 0 . G u s t av o L e c l e r c , 2 0 1 7 . U n p u b l i s h e d D i s sertation (University of Califor nia Los Angeles, Department of Architecture and Urban Design). 11. Homi Bhabha, 1994. The Location of Cult u r e ( L o n d o n : Ro u t l e d g e ) 7 . 1 2 . S e e : G e o r g e L i p s i t z , 1 9 9 0 . T i m e Pa s s a g e s : C o l l e c t i v e M e m o r y a n d A m e r i c a n Po p u l a r C u l t u r e (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). 1 3 . S e e : M a r c i a Ro b e r t s - D e u t s c h , 2 0 0 0 . “ D o u b l e Vi s i o n : P r o b l e m s o f A r t C r i t i c i s m A c r o s s C u l t u r a l B o u n d a r i e s ” i n Fr o n t i e r s o f Tr a n s c u l t u r a l i t y i n C o n t e m p o r a r y A e s t h e t i c s : P r o c e e d i n g s Vo l u m e of the Intercontinental Conference University of B o l o g n a , I t a l y.


D I S S O LV I N G B O R D E R S Hannah Bowman & Robert Brooks

“ I t ’s l o n g e r t h a n a d a y w i t h o u t bread.”- Mexican Proverb I f s o m e o n e s t r a d d l e s a b o r d e r, is that person in two places at once? A border is traditionally defined as an edge or transition between different places. Howeve r, i n l i g h t o f t h e r a p i d c u l t u r a l transfor mation of global societies - a border may be morp h i n g, o r e v e n d i s s o l v i n g, i n t o something completely new and different. This circumstance suggests that our opening question must be rephrased: - If someone s t r a d d l e s a b o r d e r, i s t h a t p e r s o n in/on a border at all? The influx of Latino/a resid e n t s t o t h e U. S. , a n d s p e c i f i cally to southeaster n states, is h a p p e n i n g a t a n i n c r e d i b l e p a c e. T h e c i t y o f C h a r l o t t e, N o r t h Carolina is one of the primary cities experiencing this influx and is undergoing a cultural shift as a result. Between the ye a r s 2 0 0 0 a n d 2 0 1 4 , t h e Pe w H i s p a n i c Re s e a r c h C e n t e r h a s pointed out that the Latino/a population in Charlotte inc r e a s e d by 1 8 6 p e r c e n t . 1 These immigration statistics suggest that inter national presence of a border may be dimini s h i n g ; h o w e v e r, b o r d e r s a t t h e local scale in Charlotte are becoming more apparent between Latino/a and predominantly Anglo-American communities. H o w e v e r, t h e d i s s o l u t i o n o f C h a r l o t t e ’s l o c a l s o c i o e c o n o m ic/ethnic borders may occur via something unexpected – panaderias, or Latino/a bakeries.

Border Bakeries Bread is one of the oldest refined for ms of food in human history and it is no sur prise that it comes in as many different shapes, sizes and colors as those who may eat it. This culinary variation inspired this exploration of a border that seems to be dissoling in one part of the globe and reappearing locall y. T h i s s t o r y i s t o l d t h r o u g h a study of three bakeries from the Latino/a community in Charl o t t e, N o r t h C a r o l i n a . The first case study targets S u a r e z B a k e r y, a C u b a n B a k e r y, located within a predominately Anglo-American community in Charlotte while the second case study focuses on a pair of M e x i c a n b a k e r i e s , Pa n a d e r i a Odalys, located in areas undergoing change recent immigration. These case studies illustrate how local bakeries such as S u a r e z B a k e r y a n d Pa n a d e r i a Odalys represent a for m of border dissolution and redefinition t h r o u g h t h e i r c l i e n t e l e, c u l t u r a l impacts, and varying aesthetics. And, they represent the changing cultural landscapes of the city ov e r a l l . Fo r e x a m p l e, S u á r e z B a k e r y i s a Cuban owned bakery on the edge of an aff luent neighborh o o d , M ye r s Pa r k , i n C h a r l o t t e. The baked goods are immaculate a n d m a d e w i t h t h e u t m o s t c a r e. O n a n y g i v e n d a y, t h e p a r k i n g lot in front of the shop could be littered with brand new Merc e d e s , B M W ’s , a n d a n y o t h e r high end luxury vehicle on the market. These vehicles are symbols of the landscape in which

Suárez Bakery exists - one of wealth and disposable incomes. In 2016, Charlotte census data showed the population immediately east of the Suárez Bakery a s b e i n g 8 3 . 2 p e r c e n t w h i t e. H o w e v e r, o n l y o n e m i l e w e s t o f Suarez, the same data reveals an area with a Hispanic population of 71.2 percent. A 23 minute drive or 56 minute bus ride North from Suárez B a k e r y, i s t h e M e x i c a n o w n e d b a k e r y Pa n a d e r i a O d a l y s . L o c a t ed along an area of Charlotte on N o r t h Tr yo n S t r e e t a n d w i t h i n a l a n d s c a p e i n c r e a s i n g l y s h a p e d by i m m i g r a t i o n , Pa n a d e r i a O d a l y s is a world apart from the caref u l l y m a n i c u r e d S u á r e z B a k e r y. Census data from 2016 shows t h e a r e a s u r r o u n d i n g Pa n a d e r i a Odalys is 53.2 percent Hispanic a n d 2 . 2 p e r c e n t w h i t e. A b o r d e r exists between the two bakeries but the exact location of that border may not always be readily apparent. Case Study Suarez Bakery The landscape of Suárez B a k e r y n e a r M ye r s Pa r k i s o n e t h a t m a y b e g i n t o h e l p u n r av e l the threads that make up local b o r d e r c o n d i t i o n s a n d p r ov i d e a basis for dissolving such bounda r i e s . E s t a b l i s h e d by C a r l o s Suárez, Suárez Bakery has remained in the same location in t h e Pa r k Ro a d S h o p p i n g C e n t e r n e a r M ye r s Pa r k s i n c e 1 9 9 2 . Some residents of the neighborhood even consider Suárez Bakery a household name due to its history in the area. An immig rant from Cuba, Suárez came to the United States in the early 24


1 9 6 0 ’s w i t h h i s m o t h e r and siblings, as did many Cubans fleeing Fidel Cast r o ’s r e g i m e.

“ C a r l o s S u a r ez h a s this recur ring dream. I n h i s n a t i ve C u b a , someone is pulling him out of bed in the dead of night, then pushing him and his brothers and sisters i n t o a wa i t i n g c a r. A t a hidden, moonlit r unwa y, t h e d r i ve r s l a m s on the brakes and hustles Carlos aboard a s m a l l p r o p p l a n e. F r o m t h e p l a n e ’s porthole he sees his f a t h e r, a l o n e o n t h e r u n wa y, t e a r s r o l l i n g d o w n h i s f a c e, wa v i n g g o o d b ye. T h e n C a r l o s wa k e s u p. A f e w ye a r s a g o , C a r l o s, o w n e r o f S u a r ez B a k e r y, m e n tioned the dream to h i s m o t h e r. “ T h a t ’s n o dream,” she told him, “ t h a t wa s r e a l . ” ” 2 Carlos’ story is one that defies borders. It is one of mobility and adaptation, bringing with it all of the traditions of Cuban culture t h r o u g h h i s m o t h e r. T h e s e elements would be assumed t o h av e c o n t r i b u t e d t o t h e creation and sustainability o f S u á r e z B a k e r y. H o w e v e r, t o t h e n a k e d e ye - t h e elements of Cuban culture are not visually present i n C a r l o s ’ s h o p. Fr o m t h e white washed exterior to the European menu, Suárez Bakery seamlessly blends into the white collar lands c a p e o f M ye r s Pa r k . Customers often dressed i n P r a d a a n d L o u i s Vu i t t o n f r e q u e n t t h e b a k e r y. E a g e r

to swipe their American Express Card for a four dollar E c l a i r, t h e y t y p i c a l l y d o n’ t take notice of the fresh G u av a Pa s t e l i t o o r A f a j o r e s . Further down the shopping s t r i p, t h e v e r y s a m e c u s tomer might walk into the J-Crew for a brief stroll bef o r e r e t u r n i n g t o t h e r u by r e d Po r s c h e. Case Study Two Panaderia Odalys A s t o n e ’s t h r o w a w a y f r o m a Wa f f l e H o u s e a n d d i r e c t l y across from one of Charl o t t e ’s n e w l i g h t r a i l s t o p s sits a seemingly ordinary strip mall that many Charlotteans would typically ov e r l o o k a s t h e y c o m m u t e t o a n d f r o m t h e c e n t e r c i t y. Upon closer inspection, h o w e v e r, o n e f i n d s t h a t this is a predominantly Latino/a shopping destin a t i o n . Tu c k e d i n t o t h i s simple strip mall is a large ye l l o w s i g n a n d n e o n l i g h t s that complement the bright colors of an helado (ice cream) shop; two doors down, a banner advertises of meat and g roceries in Spanish. Continuing along t h e L - s h a p e d b u i l d i n g, o n e finds a taqueria and g roc e r y, l a u n d r o m a t , p a w n s h o p, a n d , f i n a l l y, Pa n a d e ria Odalys. This amalgamation of s h o p s s e e m s t o h av e s p r u n g up to serve the Spanish s p e a k i n g c o m m u n i t y n e a r by. This is clear from reading G o o g l e Re v i e w s t h a t t h e s e shops are meeting a local demand—comments such as “finally a place for good b r e a d n e a r by … ” a n d “ t h e best conchas” point to the importance that this dest i n a t i o n h o l d s l o c a l l y. N o t only do these reviews speak t o c o nv e n i e n c e b u t a l s o to comfort: “Best taste of Mexico! Of home!”

Fo o d , i n t h i s s e n s e, s e r v e s as a source of solace and familiarity for a g roup of recent immigrants who may often feel disconnected and i s o l a t e d by a d i f f u s e b o r d e r that separates this area of t h e c i t y f r o m o t h e r, w e a l t h i e r, a r e a s . 3 Fo r m a n y n e a r by residents, the comida tipica offered in the various shops in this suburban strip mall appears to be a primary d r a w. L u n c h t i m e c l i e n t e l e, p r i m a r i l y m a d e u p o f working class Latinos, come for familiar and affordable c u i s i n e. At night the demographic shifts as more women and yo u n g e r p e o p l e f r e q u e n t e d the strip to get take out and g r a b i c e c r e a m . Fo r s o m e, the shops in this location also function as a public space—transfor ming the site into plazita for socializi n g. 4 Fo r e x a m p l e, Pa n a d e ria Odalys often functions as a gathering place local immigrant women who meet to talk for a while among friends as they peruse the pastries. Dissolved & Expanded Borders T h e s u c c e s s o f Pa n a d e r i a Odalys and its importance to a g rowing Latino/a c o m m u n i t y i s e v i d e n c e d by the fact that there is now a second location of this s m a l l l o c a l b a k e r y. B o t h o f the Odalys bakeries, howe v e r, s e r v e l a r g e l y i m m i grant populations and are located within less affluent areas of the city that are economically accessible to n e w p o p u l a t i o n s . Wo r d s l i k e “authentic” point to the sense of home that their clientele seek as they attempt to create a place for t h e m s e l v e s i n C h a r l o t t e. I n a s e n s e, t h e i n t e r n a t i o n a l b o r d e r m a y h av e e x p a n d e d


to connect to these bakeries but other local borders remain that separate less affluent and newly arrived immig rants from those that might already be established. I n t e r e s t i n g l y, u p o n c a s u a l o b s e r v a t i o n , Suárez Bakery appears virtually inauthentic. Its menu contains only three Cuban items, which are difficult to find in the b a k e r y ’s d i s p l a y c a s e s , t h e c o l o r s t h r o u g h o u t t h e s t o r e s e e m t o h av e b e e n n e u t e r e d , and the clientele are primarily white coll a r. W h i l e, i t m a y n o t h av e b e e n t h e i n t e n tion of Carlos Suárez to create an authent i c C u b a n b a k e r y, h e h a s c r e a t e d a l a s t i n g impression in a landscape in this affluent a r e a o f t h e c i t y. C a r l o s S u á r e z s e e m s t o h av e w ov e n h i m s e l f i n t o t h e e x i s t i n g e nv i r o n m e n t i n C h a r l o t t e, w i t h g r e a t f i n a n c i a l s u c c e s s a n d t h i s i s e v i d e n c e d by t h e c l i e n tele that frequents this location. I n a s e n s e, t h e b o r d e r b e t w e e n S u á r e z Bakery and Charlotte in general appears t o h av e d i s s o l v e d c o m p l e t e l y ; h o w e v e r, i t remains present between the two bakeries. Pa n a d e r i a O d a l y s e x i s t s i n a c o m p l e t e l y different Charlotte than does Suárez and the two do not seem likely to come into contact anytime soon. This could be due to the cultural differences between Latino/a cultures who represent differing immigration eras and contexts; and, this may represent, in the case of Suárez, a coping mechanism that has enable him to g row a s u c c e s s f u l b u s i n e s s . H o w e v e r, t h i s d o e s n o t m e a n t h e c u l t u r e i s v a n i s h e d i n e i t h e r c a s e. Both Suárez and Odalys point to differing r o l e s t h a t c u l t u r e m a y p l a n i n C h a r l o t t e ’s i n c r e a s i n g l y g l o b a l l a n d s c a p e. T h e d i s s o l u tion of borders is something that can occur through food and, perhaps, Suárez Bakery is an example of this. As Charlotte continues to embrace and welcome a multicult u r a l e nv i r o n m e n t , t h e d i s s o l u t i o n o f l o c a l borders could occur and it may be through f o o d t h a t t h i s t a k e s p l a c e.

Endnotes: 1 . Je n s M a n u e l K r o g s t a d , 2 0 1 6 . “ Ke y Fa c t s a b o u t H o w t h e U. S. H i s p a n i c Po p u l a t i o n I s C h a n g i n g. ” Pe w Re s e a r c h C e n t e r, w w w. p e w r e search.org/fact-tank/2016/09/08/key-factsabout-how-the-u-s-hispanic-population-ischanging/ 2 . Jo n a t h a n S i n g e r, 2 0 1 2 . “ G u n s a n d B u t t e r : T h e S t o r y B e h i n d S u a r e z B a k e r y. ” C h a r l o t t e M a g a z i n e, w w w. c h a r l o t t e m a g a z i n e. c o m / C h a r lotte-Magazine/March/Guns-and-Batter-TheStory-Behind-Suarez-Bakery/index.php?cparticle=1&siarticle=0#artanc; for more accounts o f t h i s i m m i g r a n t s t o r y, s e e a l s o : “ I n t e r v i e w : Sandra Gutierrez on The New Souther n-Latin o Ta b l e. ” U N C P r e s s B l o g, 2 4 Ju l y 2 0 1 7 , u n c p r e s s b l o g. c o m / 2 0 1 7 / 0 6 / 1 3 / i n t e r v i e w - s a n dra-gutierrez-on-the-new-souther n-latino-table/ 3. Stephen Christ, 2015. “The Social Organ i z a t i o n o f A u t h e n t i c i t y i n M e x i c a n Re s t a u rants.” Organizational Cultures: An Intern a t i o n a l Jo u r n a l , v o l . 1 5 , n o . 2 , p p. 1 1 – 1 6 . , doi:10.18848/2327-8013/cgp/v15i02/50948. P. 1 8 - 2 4 ; s e e a l s o : S a l d a n a , Ru b e n S a l d a n a a n d G e o r g e Fe l i x , 2 0 1 1 . “ O r a l e ! Fo o d a n d I d e n t i t y A m o n g s t L a t i n o s ” i n K a r e n R i c h m a n’s M e x ican Immigration: A South Bend Case Study ILS45103 4 . S e e : Ro d o l f o D. To r r e s a n d D av i d R . D i a z , 2 0 1 2 . L a t i n o U r b a n i s m : T h e Po l i t i c s o f P l a n n i n g, Po l i c y, a n d Re d e v e l o p m e n t ( N e w Yo r k U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s ) .


B E T W E E N T WO C U LT U R E S : S E C O N D G E N E R AT I O N S I N C H A R L OT T E J O S E P H C O L L I N S & AU B R E Y K I L L I A N


Wi t h i n t h e l a s t 1 0 ye a r s , C h a r l o t t e, N o r t h C a r o l i n a h a s b e come one of the fastest g rowing cities in the United States. This is a result, in part, of recent trends in inter national migration and national migration trends t h a t h av e h e l p e d t h e r e g i o n a l e c o n o m y g r o w. B e t w e e n 1 9 8 0 and 2000, Charlotte experienced w h a t t h e Pe w H i s p a n i c C e n t e r h a s l a b e l e d a s hy p e r - g r o w t h within its local Latino/a populat i o n . C h a r l o t t e ’s g r o w t h d u r i n g t h i s t i m e f r a m e w a s d r i v e n by a significant expansion in resident i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n a n d t h i s p r ov e d to be an attractive opportunity for many first generation Latino immig rations. By 2018, immigration has been a factor in local g rowth long enough to h av e c o n t r i b u t e d a n e s t a b l i s h e d Latino/a population with ties to various construction, financial, and business sectors. As immigrant families settled around Charlotte , several specific locations emerged as primary residential destinations. These areas now include zones in South Charlotte around South Boulevard, in North Charlotte a r o u n d U N C C h a r l o t t e, a n d i n East Charlotte around Eastland Mall area. As a result of this g rowth, Charlotte is home to g rowing Latino/a populations, some of which are now native-bor n residents of the United States. These natives are second generation immigrants and fall in the broad spectrum known as M i l l e n n i a l s . H o w e v e r, t h e s e s e c ond generation Latino/as differ from many other Millennials in that they face a dual-cultural condition that may be described as state of limbo between the cultural affiliations of their parents and that of the culture they were bor n into.1 In many cases, there is a large contrast between first generation immigrants and their children. These differences include a v a r i a t i o n o f e d u c a t i o n , i n c o m e, i d e n t i t y, a t t i t u d e, a n d e x p e r i -

e n c e s , a l l o f w h i c h h av e o n e m a i n t h e m e : o p p o r t u n i t y. S e c o n d g e n e r a t i o n i m m i g r a n t s h av e a much g reater chance at economic opportunities than their parents simply as a result of h av i n g b e e n b o r n i n t h e U n i t e d States. They tend to receive a higher level of education than their parents, which often results in higher incomes upon entering t h e w o r k f o r c e. S t u d i e s s h o w t h a t d u e t o t h e o p p o r t u n i t y, t h e s e second generation immigrants get more college degrees than their parents, which allows for them to start businesses and gain the same national benefits that ultimately create a net plus to t h e n a t i o n’s e c o n o m y. Locating Culture In order to collect data from first-hand accounts, surveys were given to second generation immigrant high school students at South Mecklenburg High S c h o o l i n C h a r l o t t e, N C . T h i s short survey was given out to 85 students. Out of the 85 students, 76% were bor n in the United States with 85% of their parents born outside of the United States, classifying the majority of participants as second generation. The survey consisted of 12 questions that helped identify the context of person and cult u r a l t e n d e n c i e s i nv o l v i n g l a n g u a g e, f o o d s , r e c r e a t i o n , a c c e s s , a n d h o m e l i f e. T h e q u e s t i o n s were written in everyday conversational English and Spanish, allowing for the students to feel comfortable giving their answers i n t h e l a n g u a g e o f t h e i r c h o i c e. The survey responses illustrate how second generation members of immigrant families find themselves between borders—between the cultures of their parents and those of the country and place in which they were bor n. These trends illustrate instances of rejection of local culture that are fully derived from parental c u l t u r e, i n s t a n c e s o f a s s i m i l a tion that are not attributable to

p a r e n t a l c u l t u r e, a n d i n s t a n c e s hy b r i d i z a t i o n i n w h i c h c h a r a c teristics of both parental culture and local culture exist. Rejection Of the 12 questions asked, two categories arose where the majority of the students had chosen to reject the existing community nor ms and align with their parents culture: language and food. Fo r m o s t s u r v e y p a r t i c i p a n t s , heritage foods tied to familial recipes remained important. The students interviewed identified various dishes that they a t e e v e r y d a y, w h i c h w e r e t i e d to their parents cultural herit a g e a n d n o t t o l o c a l c u i s i n e. A n explanation could simply be that they had no choice but to eat what their parents had prepared; h o w e v e r, s t u d i e s h av e s u g g e s t e d that language and food cultures are significant ways that family traditions are handed down from generation to generation. Wi t h r e g a r d t o l a n g u a g e, according to the interviewees, 71% identified Spanish as their p r i m a r y l a n g u a g e a n d ov e r h a l f indicated that Spanish was the l a n g u a g e s p o k e n a t h o m e. H o w e v e r, a t h o m e, o n l y 5 7 % s p e c i fied speaking primarily Spanish. A l t h o u g h t h i s d i s p a r i t y m a y h av e various causes, a likely reason could be that these second generation Latinos appear to struggle with national identifications. The majority of respondents appear to embrace the language of their parents and reject the language they were bor n into; i n a s e n s e, t h i s i s o n e w a y t h a t the respondents demonstrated a respect for their parents and a s e n s e o f h e r i t a g e. Bickmore suggests in her analysis of observation and interviews of a school in Utah, that immigrant parents desire their children to lear n Spanish alongside English as to not make one language appear inferior to the other; 30


“That is not to imply that English should not be the operational language of U.S. schools, but rather that speakers of languages other than English do not want their language to be viewed as somehow deficient or second-best because it is not English. Latino parents’ interests also include the respect, acknowledgment, and equal ranking of their lived culture with the U.S. school culture.”3 Assimilation In the category of away from h o m e, a c t i v i t y c a n b e d e s c r i b e d as assimilation. Although our survey was not exhaustive neit h e r s u b s t a n t i a l l y l a r g e, w e w e r e able to see that events and beh av i o r s a t h o m e t y p i c a l l y a l i g n with the culture of their parents, while when the students were away from home they typically a l i g n e d w i t h t h e e x i s t i n g c u l t u r e. What students do after school can vary between clubs, sports, and social interactions. Analysis of the survey showed that when the students were asked what they did after school the m o s t r e s p o n s e s i nv o l v e d s o m e s o r t o f p hy s i c a l a c t i v i t y o r g o i n g to school clubs. The activities totaled 60% with 38% devoted t o s p o r t s a n d 2 2 % i nv o l v e d i n clubs. I n t h i s s e n s e, t h i s s e c o n d g e n eration g roup of Latinos parall e l s t h e ov e r a l l U. S. p o p u l a t i o n i n g e n e r a l . T h e U. S C e n s u s Bureau points out that that 57% of children between the ages of 6 and 17 participated in extrac u r r i c u l a r a c t i v i t i e s . 4 O f t h e s e, 35% participated in sports and 29% participated in clubs or l e s s o n s i n l a n g u a g e, d a n c e, o r music. Our analysis suggests that students had assimilated into the existing culture when con-

sidering a broad comparison of extra-curricular activities. Hybridization The preparation of meals b e c a m e t h e e x a m p l e o f a hy b r i d i z e d e v e n t . Fo r t h e m o s t p a r t this appeared to contradict the m e a l p r e f e r e n c e, w h i c h i n d i c a t e d a r e j e c t i o n o f l o c a l c u i s i n e. H o w e v e r, t h i s p r e p a r a t i o n o f meals is tied to a question of where their parents shop for g roceries. The students participants identified multiple g rocery stores that served their families s h o p p i n g n e e d s . Wa l m a r t w a s the highest ranking destination identified in the survey (40% of r e s p o n d e n t s ) f o l l o w e d by C o m p a r e Fo o d s w i t h 3 9 % , a n d A l d i with 24%. Each of these g rocery chains serve diverse customers but t h e y a r e a l l c h a r a c t e r i z e d by competing within an affordable marketspace unlike many other l o c a l g r o c e r i e s l i k e H a r r i s Te e t e r o r W h o l e Fo o d s . O n e p o p u l a r l y l o c a l s t o r e, E l Re y, i s f r e q u e n t ed due to its proximity to the High School and most likely to w h e r e t h e s t u d e n t s l i v e. Wi t h t h e e x c e p t i o n o f E l Re y, t h e s h o p ping habits of the parents would suggest a need to assimilate through shopping destinations. H o w e v e r, t h e t y p e s o f f o o d s p u r chased were often representative of native Latino/a cultures. In a s e n s e, t h e p r e p a r a t i o n o f m e a l s i s by n e c e s s i t y a hy b r i d i z e d a c t i v i t y. In Between Borders The surveys allowed for an understanding a segment of the second generation immigrant p o p u l a t i o n i n C h a r l o t t e. O u r questions allowed for us to identify moments of rejection, assimi l a t i o n a n d hy b r i d i z a t i o n i n s p e cific instances of everyday life for second generation Latino/as in one local high school. These t r e n d s r e p r e s e n t n o n - p hy s i c a l borders between second genera-

tion immigrants and the rest of t h e M i l l e n n i a l g e n e r a t i o n . Pa t ter ns of rejection in the for m of Spanish language identification and traditional foods cultures differ from those of many Millennial North Americans. Pa t t e r n s o f a s s i m i l a t i o n emerged as a result of necessity—shopping for affordable f o o d , f o r e x a m p l e, m e a n t t h a t families had to interact with mainstream g rocery chains. S i m i l a r l y, a f t e r s c h o o l a c t i v i t i e s p r ov i d e d t h e s e s e c o n d g e n e r a tion Latino/as opportunities to participate in social events at rates similar to or greater than other Millennial North Americans. And, specific instance s o f hy b r i d i t y ( t h r o u g h m e a l preparation, bi-lingual ability) emerged that again differentiate this second generation Latino/a population. These general traits illustrate ways that second generation Latino/s exist between the two cultures. It is important to note that each person has his or her own individual reasons for m a k i n g l i f e c h o i c e s ; t h e r e f o r e, a single consensus that represents e v e r yo n e c a n n o t b e m a d e. H o w e v e r, t h e s t u d e n t s i n t e r v i e w e d for this essay point to a g rowing need to understand and potentially classify a new g roup of ‘Moder n day Mexican-Americans’. Their condition of being between border and cultural conditions point to the need for a unique cultural categorization—one that allows for the maintenance of cultural heritage while also incor porating specific a s p e c t s o f U. S. c u l t u r e s .


Endnotes: 1. See: “Generational Differe n c e s , ” Pe w Re s e a r c h C e n t e r : Hispanic Differences, March 19, 2 0 0 4 . h t t p : / / w w w. p e w h i s p a n i c . org/2004/03/19/generational-differences/ 2. See: Alan Gomez, 2013. “Second Generation Immigrants B e t t e r o f f t h a n Pa r e n t s , ” i n U S A To d a y ( Fe b r u a r y 7 ) .

3 . B i c k m o r e, R h o n d a L . 2 0 1 3 . “ S p a n i s h - s p e a k i n g Pa r e n t s ’ Negotiation of Language and C u l t u r e w i t h t h e i r C h i l d r e n’s Schools.” Utah State Universit y, h t t p s : / / d i g i t a l c o m m o n s . u s u . edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2538&context=etd 4. United States Census Bur e a u , Re l e a s e N u m b e r : C B 1 4 224. December 2014. https:// w w w. c e n s u s . g ov / n e w s r o o m / press-releases/2014/cb14-224. html.

Acknowledgements A s p e c i a l t h a n k y o u t o : M rs. N h o r a G o m e z - S a x o, M r. H i l d e g a r d o A v i l a C a r r a n z a , M rs. D i a n a M . To r o, a n d the Students of South Mecklenburg High School.


BORDER CONDITIONS I N C A BA R RU S C O U N T Y, N C J E N N I F E R S I M P S O N & A A RO N S O C H A C K I

Fo r m a n y p e o p l e, t h e s i n g l e most serious challenge to Ameri c a ’s t r a d i t i o n a l i d e n t i t y c o m e s from the impacts of immig ration from Latin America.1 The Latino/as represent the fastest g rowing community in the United States accounting for more than h a l f ( 5 4 % ) o f t h e n a t i o n’s p o p u lation g rowth between 2000 and 2014. The effects of immigration are broad, impacting the day to day lives of Latino/as themselves, as well as the cultures in which they are immersed. In Cabarrus County in North C a r o l i n a , f o r e x a m p l e, t h e g r o w i n g L a t i n o / a c o m m u n i t y ’s impacts can be seen through the work of a specific nonprofit whose mission is to serve local children and families. Cabarrus is changing from a county of small towns where generations g r e w u p a n d s t a ye d c l o s e, t o o n e of diversity and g rowth, including an influx of different ethnic, cultural and faith traditions.2 Although Mecklenburg Count y, b e c a u s e o f i t s s i z e, h a s t h e highest numbers of foreign-bor n immig rants from Mexico (26,458), the estimated Latino/a population in Cabarrus County is 17,927.3 One result of this recent rapid g rowth due to Latino/a immigration is an increased sense of a border presence within North Carolina. W h i l e t h e U. S. - M e x i c o b o r d e r is one example of a border that is marked in some areas with a p hy s i c a l b a r r i e r, b o r d e r s a r e n o t l i m i t e d t o p hy s i c a l c o n s t r u c t i o n s located along geo-political lines.

L o c a l l y, b o t h s e r v i c e p r ov i d ers, such as nonprofits who aim to address the needs of immig rant communities, and Latino/a newcomers face societal condit i o n s t h a t c r e a t e i nv i s i b l e b o r ders between immig rant g roups and those who seek to offer them support. BORDER PSYCHOLOGY / B O R D E R C U LT U R E Fo r Fa m i l i e s F i r s t , t h e n e e d to serve families and their children shapes the services that the organization offers, which are a i m e d a t i m p r ov i n g t h e l i v e s o f L a t i n o / a c h i l d r e n a t h o m e, w o r k a n d s c h o o l . H o w e v e r, t h e o r g a nization and its clientele often face various types of border conditions despite being nearly 1 , 5 0 0 m i l e s f r o m t h e U. S. / M e x i c o b o r d e r : c u l t u r a l a n d p s yc h o logical borders often challenge Fa m i l i e s F i r s t i n t h e i r e f f o r t s t o deliver services to Latino/a comm u n i t i e s i n C a b a r r u s C o u n t y. I n a s e n s e, t h i s o r g a n i z a t i o n a i m s d i s s o l v e l o c a l b o r d e r s t h a t h av e t r av e l e d w i t h r e c e n t i m m i g r a n t c o m m u n i t i e s — b o r d e r s t h a t h av e b e e n b u i l t i n r e c e n t ye a r s d u e to the political climate of the r e g i o n a n d t h e c o u n t r y. H u s b a n d a n d w i f e, S p e n cer and Aurora Swain founded Fa m i l i e s F i r s t i n Ju l y, 2 0 1 4 i n response to a set of needs that faced underserved immig rant f a m i l i e s C a b a r r u s C o u n t y. Fa m i l i e s F i r s t p r ov i d e s p r o g r a m s a i m e d i m p r ov i n g e a r l y c h i l d hood, adult education, and fam-

ily development. The prog rams, both in English and Spanish, inc l u d e : Pa r e n t s a s Te a c h e r s , C e l e b r a t i n g Fa m i l i e s , a n d C a b a r r u s Bilingual Preschool. The initiative began as a home visitation prog ram, but the Swains opened the preschool after realizing how many parents and children in the county were l a c k i n g a c c e s s t o d a yc a r e a n d educational services. Additionall y, t h e y r e a l i z e d t h a t t h e m a j o r i t y C a b a r r u s C o u n t y ’s L a t i n o / a f a m i l i e s d i d n o t h av e a n i n c o m e substantial enough to afford dayc a r e. M a n y o f t h e s e i m m i g r a n t families face substandard living conditions, often abusive landlords and a lack of basic services l i k e r u n n i n g w a t e r. L a t i n o / a i m m i g r a n t s h av e a n d continue to face employment problems, housing and food insecurities, education difficulties, unmet health care needs, disparities in health status, transportation issues, and discrimination.4 These challenges are made more difficult often due to language barriers and a strongly held s e n s e o f c u l t u r a l h e r i t a g e. S o c i etal challenges coupled with the p o l i t i c a l c l i m a t e i n t h e U. S. i n r e c e n t ye a r s c o n t r i b u t e t o a n e n vironment in which immig rants i n c r e a s i n g l y f e e l u n w e l c o m e. Fo r r e s o u r c e p r ov i d e r s l i k e Fa m i l i e s F i r s t , f e a r i s a b o t h a p s yc h o l o g ical and cultural barrier: “One of the first obstacles they are facing is the immigrants’ fears. A significant number of Latinos are living 34


in the shadows with no legal s t a t u s i n t h e c o u n t r y, t h u s struggling every day with a strenuous issue like deportation.”5 Sorting out legal issues from the economic, health and education issues is difficult, especially in light of the fact that the children of illegal immigrants bor n in the United States are citizens and entitled to services that their parents may not know of or be willing to access. Aurora Swain spoke of some immigrant parents currently using the daycare who were at one point too afraid to use these services for fear of being deported. These p s yc h o l o g i c a l b o r d e r s e x i s t i n the minds of those who need help based on their limited understanding of how local service o r g a n i z a t i o n s o p e r a t e. Fa m i l i e s F i r s t s t r i v e s t o c h a l l e n g e t h e s e e x i s t i n g p s yc h o l o g i c a l b o r d e r s by s p e a k i n g t o t h o s e in need, spreading their word, n e t w o r k i n g, a d v e r t i s i n g, a n d i nv i t i n g t h e m i n t o s o c i a l s p a c e s where they will feel safe and can be educated on their rights and av a i l a b l e a s s i s t a n c e. Fo r e x a m p l e, r e c o g n i z i n g t h e s c a l e o f t h e c h a l l e n g e s f a c e d by l o c a l L a t i n o / a i m m i g r a n t s , Fa m i l i e s F i r s t Preschool has transfor med into a community hub that brings together Latino/a immigrants and long-time residents through prog ramming and community activities. This was accomplished by e x p a n d i n g t h e p r e s c h o o l ’s play area to include an outdoor l e a r n i n g s p a c e. T h i s o u t d o o r s p a c e w a s d e s i g n e d a n d b u i l t by the University of North Carolina a t C h a r l o t t e ’s c h a p t e r o f Fr e e d o m by D e s i g n . This expanded lear ning env i r o n m e n t h e l p s Fa m i l i e s F i r s t p r ov i d e a c o n n e c t i o n b a c k t o t h e l a r g e r c o m m u n i t y ; t h e p hy s i c a l extension of the preschool outdoor space creates a landscape that allows opportunities for social and cultural extensions of

relationships between the children and their families through activities that build upon the r e l a t i o n s h i p o f t h e d a yc a r e c e n t e r. Fo r S p e n c e r S w a i n , t h e integration of culturally sensitive design with the organizat i o n’s p h i l o s o p hy o f l e a r n i n g a n d d e v e l o p m e n t h a s p r ov i d e d a critical place for all ages and for after school prog rams that can benefit from the value of being a l e a r n e r o u t d o o r s . 6 I n t h i s s e n s e, Fa m i l i e s F i r s t p r ov i d e s a n a l t e r n a t i v e e nv i r o n m e n t t h a t p r o motes socio-emotional wellbeing not only for the children who h av e a c c e s s t o t h e p r e s c h o o l a n d d a yc a r e, b u t a l s o f o r t h e c o m m u n i t y a s a w h o l e. This combination of culturally sensitive design and of strategic spatial planning and prog ramming has helped the organizat i o n b r i d g e p s yc h o l o g i c a l d i v i d e s between communities who would o t h e r w i s e n o t c o m e t o g e t h e r. T h r o u g h i n n ov a t i v e p r a c t i c e s and drawing on the strengths of f a m i l i e s a n d t h e i r c h i l d r e n , Fa m ilies First is building stronger foundations in fractured parts of t h e c o m m u n i t y. 7 D e s p i t e t h e i r e f f o r t s , h o w e v e r, c u l t u r a l b o r ders persist. Cabarrus County is not unique in this case; cultural divides in immig rant commun i t i e s v i r t u a l l y e v e r y w h e r e. A s r e s e a r c h e r Ke v i n R . Jo h n s o n h a s pointed out, “ I n r e a l i t y, a l l i m m i g r a n t groups assimilate to some extent. The transitions, howe v e r, h a v e n o t a l w a y s b e e n smooth. Virtually every wave of immigrants to the United S t a t e s i n i t i a l l y h a d d i ff i c u l t y adjusting to life here.”8 SMOOTHING OUT THE BORDER: DISSOVLING DIVISIONS While some immigrants can a d j u s t e a s i l y, f o r m a n y i t i s s t i l l a difficulty that affects their day to day lives. Even Latino/as who were bor n in the United States

still face racial and cultural differences that may prevent them f r o m f e e l i n g f u l l y a c c e p t e d by d o m i n a n t s o c i e t y. O n e o f t h e m a i n o b j e c t i v e s o f Fa m i l i e s F i r s t i s t o n o t i g n o r e, b u t t o d i s s o l v e this cultural divide and give under privileged families opportunities to advance in life while at the same time embracing their c u l t u r e. T h e b i l i n g u a l n a t u r e o f Fa m i l i e s F i r s t c u r r i c u l u m a s s i s t s i n t a k i n g a n i n n ov a t i v e a p p r o a c h to stimulating skills in English a n d i n S p a n i s h , c r e a t i n g a n e nv i ronment in which an emphasis is placed on both languages equall y. The founders of the preschool state that: “This is the heartb e a t o f Fa m i l i e s F i r s t . T h i s i s where families get better and thrive and hit their goals and access medical, education and ov e r c o m e v a r i o u s l a n g u a g e b a r r i e r s , ov e r c o m e o t h e r b a r r i e r s in their lives. This is the heartbeat.”9 A part of the ongoing effort of Latino/a communities’ integration into an urban experience within Cabarrus County h a s i nv o l v e d t h e p r o d u c t i o n o f new gathering spaces that provide opportunities to maintain a s e n s e o f c u l t u r a l i d e n t i t y. Such cultural productions for m counter landscapes to those that h av e m a r g i n a l i z e d t h e L a t i n o / a communities in Cabarrus. The creation of diverse cultural spaces allows for integration of d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r e s i n t o o n e e nv i ronment. The sense of community and s u p p o r t t h a t Fa m i l i e s F i r s t brings to the local Latino/a immig rant community in Cabarrus County represents an important c o n t r i b u t i o n t o t h e i r p s yc h o l o g i c a l w e l l - b e i n g. T h e s u p p o r t i v e n e t w o r k t h a t t h e d a yc a r e p r o vides creates a safe space that, in the words of Spencer Swain, allows members to challenge t h e i r o w n p s yc h o l o g i c a l b a r r i e r s , working “to connect themselves to one another with less tangible but extremely important


mutual offerings of respect and e s t e e m . ” 10 Fa m i l i e s F i r s t a l s o p r ov i d e s free prog rams for those who are s t r u g g l i n g w i t h p a r e n t i n g, p ov e r t y, a d d i c t i o n s , a n d / o r l i v i n g linguistically isolated with their children. Given this range of s e r v i c e s , t h e d a yc a r e h a s n o w come to be a place that people consider to be within their comfort zone -- a place where they can trust one another and ask for h e l p. S p e n c e r s p o k e o f a L a t i n a who came in seeking support and guidance because her daughter had gotten a DUI citation. Although her daughter was a legal resident, she still feared for her d a u g h t e r ’s f u t u r e. Pe o p l e c o m e i n day to day and share these types of experiences ranging from very personal stories to simply asking where they may find a real estate agent. T h e c u l t u r a l a n d p s yc h o l o g i c a l border conditions discussed here continue to limit the expansion and integration of Latino/a cultures within the United States, in effect isolating the populat i o n . Fa m i l i e s F i r s t h a s m a d e g r e a t s t r i d e s i n ov e r c o m i n g t h e s e b a r r i e r s by p r ov i d i n g r e s o u r c e s ,

education and acceptance to the Latino/a immigrant population in Cabarrus County and their e f f o r t s p r ov i d e a b l u e p r i n t f o r challenging and dissolving bord e r s i n o r d e r t o a c c e s s t o p hy s i c a l s p a c e s , c u l t u r a l p l a c e, a n d p s yc h o l o g i c a l i d e n t i t i e s .

Endnotes: 1 . S a m u e l P. H u n t i n g t o n , “ T h e H i s p a n i c C h a l l e n g e, ” Fo r e i g n Po l i c y, l a s t m o d i f i e d O c t o b e r 2 8 , 2 0 0 9 , h t t p : / / f o r e i g n p o l i c y. com/2009/10/28/the-hispanic-challenge/. 2 . “ C a b a r r u s H e a l t h A l l i a n c e, N C - O f f i c i a l We b s i t e, ” P H A B , accessed April 16, 2018, http:// w w w. c a b a r r u s h e a l t h . o r g / . 3. “Mapping ‘Latinos’ in the C h a r l o t t e Re g i o n , ” U N C C h a r l o t t e U r b a n I n s t i t u t e, a c c e s s e d April 16, 2018, https://ui.uncc.edu/story/latino-population-nc-sc-charlotte-region-acs. 4 . Ke v i n R . Jo h n s o n , 1 9 9 7 . M e l t i n g Po t o r R i n g o f F i r e : Assimilation and the Mexic a n - A m e r i c a n E x p e r i e n c e, 8 5

C a l i f . L . Re v. 1 2 7 7 . 5. Hirania Luzardo, 2017. “How Latinos Are Changing C h a r l o t t e ’s Fa c e, ” T h e H u f f i n g t o n Po s t , h t t p s : / / w w w. huffingtonpost.com/hirania-luzardo/how-latinos-are-changing_b_9782592.html. 6 . W h o We A r e, Fa m i l y F i r s t CC, April 16, 2018, https:// w w w. f a m i l i e s f i r s t c c . o r g / w h o / . 7 . C a b a r r u s H e a l t h A l l i a n c e, N C O f f i c i a l We b s i t e, ” P H A B , accessed April 16, 2018, http:// w w w. c a b a r r u s h e a l t h . o r g / . 8 . Ke v i n R . Jo h n s o n , 1 9 9 7 . “ M e l t i n g Po t o r R i n g o f F i r e : Assimilation and the Mexic a n - A m e r i c a n E x p e r i e n c e, ” 8 5 C a l i f . L . Re v. , 1 2 7 8 - 1 2 7 9 . 9 . C h a r l o t t e - b a s e d Re e m p r i s e F u n d Aw a r d s G r a n t t o Fa m i l i e s F i r s t i n C a b a r r u s C o u n t y. ” h t t p s : / / w w w. f a m iliesfirstcc.org/keeping-upwith-family-first/2017/11/16/ charlotte-based-reemprise-fundawards-grant-to-families-first-inc a b a r r u s - c o u n t y. 10. Ibid.


EASTLAND MALL AND THE CASE FOR INFORMALITY J O H N H A R G E T T, R A N D Y H O L L I N S & K H A L I D S H A H I N

The Eastland Mall in Charlotte was at one point the largest mall in North Carolina when it first opened in 1975. Now what remains is an empty lot after the building ceased operations in 2010 and was subsequently d e m o l i s h e d i n 2 0 1 3 . C h a r l o t t e ’s development community has resisted rehabilitating the site for many reasons—not the least of w h i c h m a y h av e t o d o w i t h t h e changing demographics of east C h a r l o t t e ov e r a l l . 1 As pointed in other essays in this publication, Charlotte has undergone significant g rowth in its immigrant populations with Latino/a g roups making up the l a r g e s t p a r t o f t h i s g r o w t h . Wi t h the private sector slow to show i n t e r e s t i n t h e s i t e, t h e C i t y o f Charlotte purchased the for mer mall After for approximately 13 m i l l i o n i n 2 0 1 2 . S i n c e t h a t t i m e, the city has developed a potential zoning plan and anchored a t r a n s i t s t a t i o n o n t h e s i t e, w i t h h o p e s o f b r i n g i n g p r i v a t e i nv e s t ment into the area but development remains stalled; for examp l e, C h a r l o t t e O b s e r v e r r e p o r t e r E l y Po r t i l l o h a s q u o t e d c i t y council representatives stating that, “No developer expressed a n i n t e r e s t i n i nv e s t i n g i n s i t e as-is.”2 H o w e v e r, t h e l a c k o f l a r g e scale private market interests has allowed a micro-scaled infor mal c u l t u r e t o e m e r g e. R a t h e r t h a n let the for mer mall site sit empt y, l o c a l e n t r e p r e n e u r s l e d by Errick Curtis-Pulley and Theo-

d o r e Wi l l i a m s , e s t a b l i s h e d t h e Charlotte Open Air Market as a venue to bring together small scale vendors from across the city and region. While the Market functions in a for mal way—it charges a modest fee ($15.00) for an 18’ x 18’ space per day a n d i s a l l o w e d t o o p e r a t e by t h e C i t y — t h e s i t e p r ov i d e s a w a y to allow pop-up and small scale a c t i v i t i e s t o o c c u r. A s a r e s u l t , v e n d o r s o f a l l k i n d s c o nv e r g e o n the site from spring through fall and this has attracted a g rowing number of Latino/a vendors and customers seeking a foothold in t h e l o c a l e c o n o m y. The atmosphere of the Open Air Market is not unlike an infor mal market that one might f i n d i n m a n y p a r t s o f t h e g l o b e. This sense of infor mality provides greater economic opportunity for many in immig rant communities since there are hurdles than with for mal work—a point e x p r e s s e d by m a n y v i s i t o r s a n d vendors. Speaking with many at the swap meet, it was clear that to some this infor mal work was a s i d e j o b, w h i l e o t h e r s a p e r s o n a l c a r e e r. I n t h i s s e n s e, t h e site functions as an entry point through which local immig rants c a n c r o s s ov e r m a n y o f t h e e c o n o m i c b o r d e r s t h a t C h a r l o t t e ’s larger marketplace may present. Ye t , d e s p i t e t h e v a l u e t h a t t h e undeveloped site offers through semi-for mal events, the inform a l a n d a c c e s s i b l e e nv i r o n m e n t that the Eastland Mall currently p r ov i d e s c o u l d b e a t r i s k . A s t h e

City seeks large scale private development that will transfor m the for mer mall, small scale economies will likely be displaced; “rather than encourage infor mal fir ms to become for mal, s u c h p o l i c i e s m a y h av e t h e e f f e c t of driving them out of business [ a n d ] l e a d i n g t o p ov e r t y a n d destitution of infor mal workers and entrepreneurs.”3 Re f e r e n c e s : P. M c D a n i e l , e t a l . , 2 0 1 7 . “ I n creasing immigrant settlement and the challenges and opportunities for public education in C h a r l o t t e, N o r t h C a r o l i n a . ” U S Latinization: Education and the new Latino South: 23-42. 2 E l y Po r t i l l o , 2 0 1 7 . E a s t l a n d might keep its name – but there are lots of question marks about redevelopment, Charlotte Obs e r v e r, Ju n e 0 9 . 3 R a f a e l L a Po r t a a n d A n d r e i S h l e i f e r, 2 0 1 4 . “ I n f o r m a l i t y a n d d e v e l o p m e n t . ” Jo u r n a l o f E c o n o m i c Pe r s p e c t i v e s 2 8 ( 3 ) : 1 0 9 26.

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P I TC H P E R F E C T ? E L O N PA R K , B O R D E R L A N D S & FUTBOL N AT H A L I E A LTA M I R A N O & N O R M A N A N G E L A c c o r d i n g t o t h e U. S. C e n s u s Bureau (2011), as of April 1, 2010, about 50.5 million Latinos live in the United States, making people of Latin descent the n a t i o n’s l a r g e s t e t h n i c m i n o r i t y g r o u p. A c c o r d i n g t o D av i d R . D i a z a n d Ro d o l f o D. To r res, editors of the book Latino Urbanism, Latino/as make up approximately 16.3 percent of t h e n a t i o n’s t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n o f nearly 308.7 million.1 T h e c o u n t r y ’s L a t i n o p o p u lations are projected to g row to approximately 132.8 million by t h e ye a r 2 0 5 0 , w h i c h w i l l make up about 30 percent of the n a t i o n’s ov e r a l l p o p u l a t i o n . I n C h a r l o t t e, N o r t h C a r o l i n a t h e Latino population is sur prisingl y l o w, a t a r o u n d 1 3 p e r c e n t , a s per the 2014 US Census, but, the population has a strong presence i n s o m e o f t h e c i t y ’s n e i g h b o r h o o d s . H o w e v e r, m a n y n e i g h b o r h o o d s l i k e P r ov i d e n c e, B a l l a n t y n e, M ye r s Pa r k , S o u t h Pa r k , a n d A r d r e y Ke l l h av e a n e x tremely low Latino presence but still often include evidence of a g rowing Latino/a population.2 Futbol Fields Fo r e x a m p l e, p i c k - u p s o c c e r games made up of Latino/a p l a ye r s a n d S p a n i s h - s p e a k ing vendor trucks often appear throughout the city creating moments of coinciding cultures and d i s s o l v i n g b o r d e r s . Ju s t a s u r b a n theorist and political activist M i k e D av i s h a s s u g g e s t e d ,

“Latin American immigrants and their children, perhaps more than any other element in population, exult in… parks... [forming an all new importance] for urban commons.”3 This is the case with Elon Pa r k , w h i c h i s l o c a t e d i n t h e affluent and predominantly Anglo-America southeast neighborh o o d o f B a l l a n t y n e. E l o n Pa r k i s a c t u a l l y E l o n Pa r k E l e m e n t a r y School, which has four soccer fields that are further divided into sixteen smaller fields for r e c r e a t i o n a l p l a y. E a c h f i e l d i s open to the public after school hours and, thus they create i nv i t i n g g a t h e r i n g s p a c e s n o t u n like the urban commons that Davis describes in his work. Howeve r, t h i s e m e r g e n t p u b l i c s p a c e i s located in the heart of suburban Charlotte—an area not typically known for its public exhibition o f c u l t u r e. W hy d o e s t h e s p a c e o f L a t i no/a social engagement take place 30 or even 50 minutes a w a y f r o m t h e h e av i l y L a t i n o populated areas of Charlotte? Where do these Latino/a g roups c o m e f r o m ? B a l l a n t y n e, a n d t h e neighboring areas like Ardrey Ke l l , a r e p r e d o m i n a n t l y “ w h i t e, ” with 85 percent Caucasian and less than 5 percent Latino/a p o p u l a t i o n s e a c h . H o w e v e r, a s the predominantly Caucasian intramural teams finish their games, an infor mal Latin American league emerges to claim the soccer pitches. In situations such

a s t h e s e, i t i s p o s s i b l e t o s e e how Latino/a g roups adapt to local circumstances and expand their social spaces to include E l o n Pa r k a s a L a t i n o / a ( s u b ) urban commons. This situation a l s o r e v e a l s a n ov e r l a p o f b o r d e r conditions in which Latino/a c u l t u r e s a r e hy b r i d i z i n g s o c i a l spaces in order to create a new cultural landscape for themselves i n C h a r l o t t e. Ty p i c a l l y o n S a t u r d a y n i g h t s , t h e c o n t e x t o f E l o n Pa r k t r a n sitions to take on a second life b u t w i t h a d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r e. E l o n Pa r k h a s a m a k e s h i f t c o n c e s s i o n stand & tables, a Latino/a food truck, signs with phrases both in English and Spanish, and S p a n i s h s p e a k i n g p e o p l e w h o , by a r r i v i n g, c r e a t e a b o r d e r l a n d scape in which North and Latin Americans briefly mix. “We play soccer as soon as the Americans are done with their games [on Saturday nights from 6 pm to 11 o’clock pm and again on Sunday mornings]...”4 says Antonio, one of the many H i s p a n i c s o c c e r p l a ye r s a t E l o n Pa r k . E l o n Pa r k h a s b e c o m e a space to which it seems that p e o p l e t r av e l f r o m a v a r i e t y o f p l a c e s o u t s i d e o f C h a r l o t t e. I n t h e c a s e o f Jo r g e, Ju a n , A n t o n i o , a n d D a n , f o u r yo u n g m e n who are a part of local Latin A m e r i c a n s o c c e r t e a m s , t r av e l from between eight and twenty miles north for the weekly soccer g a m e s h a s b e c o m e r o u t i n e. Jo r g e 44


t r av e l s f r o m Wo o d f o r d G r e e n , Ju a n f r o m M o n t c l a i r S o u t h , A n t o n i o f r o m L a n c a s t e r, a n d D a n from the Pineville area—distance s t h a t r e q u i r e t r av e l t i m e s o f a s l i t t l e a s 3 0 m i n u t e s t o ov e r 2 hours. Aside from the weekly t r av e l i n g, Jo r g e, Ju a n , A n t o n i o , and Dan all immigrated to the United States and this site in Charlotte has become an extension of their homelands back h o m e. Meet me at the Border I n a s e n s e, E l o n Pa r k h a s b e come a space of representation that allows for people to celebrate their own societal nor ms, even when not in the context of a n o t h e r s o c i e t y. 5 I n t h i s c a s e, through a common language of s o c c e r, t h e t r a n s i t i o n s b e t w e e n Charlotte-based recreational teams and Latin American-connected leagues illustrate a moment in which geo-political borders emerge and may potent i a l l y ( m o m e n t a r i l y ) d i s s o l v e. During these moments when the border has disappeared, Elon Pa r k a l l o w s a n i n f o r m a l L a t i n o / a

m a r k e t p l a c e t o e m e r g e, a d i f f e r ent language (Spanish) becomes c o m m o n c u r r e n c y, a n d t h e f i e l d ’s p u b l i c av a i l a b i l i t y e x t e n d s t o welcome people who represent a n e i g h b o r i n g c u l t u r e. I n s o m e w a y s , E l o n Pa r k e n a b l e s a hy b r i d i z a t i o n o f c u l t u r al landscapes to emerge just as futbol helps create a common cultural playing field: food menus not only include tacos and pupusas but also hotdogs and cheese fries; spectators come who attend the games not only include the entire family of the o n e s o c c e r p l a ye r b u t a l s o t h e i r A m e r i c a n f r i e n d s . E l o n Pa r k in these moments becomes the m y t h i c a l m e l t i n g p o t t h a t “A m e r ica” has often been described a s ; n o t a b o r d e r, n o r a w a l l — a place in which people and cult u r e s c o m e t o g e t h e r. A s a s h a r e d social space and through the s o c c e r, E l o n Pa r k a n d i t s S a t u r d a y e v e n i n g v i s i t o r s p r ov i d e t h e possibility to eliminate a border condition (albeit temporarily), in f av o r o f ov e r l a p p i n g c u l t u r e s .

Endnotes: 1 . D av i d R . D i a z a n d Ro d o l f o D. To r r e s . L a t i n o 2 0 1 2 . U r b a n i s m : t h e Po l i t i c s o f P l a n n i n g, Po l i c y, a n d Re d e v e l o p m e n t ( N e w Yo r k : N e w Yo r k U n i v e r s i t y Press). 2 . “ L a t i n o Po p u l a t i o n s a r e G r o w i n g Fa s t e s t W h e r e We A r e n’ t L o o k i n g. ” N e w s w i r e | L a t i n o Po p u l a t i o n s a r e G r o w i n g Fa s t e s t W h e r e We A r e n’ t L o o k i n g | N i e l s e n . A c c e s s e d Fe b r u a r y 1 2 , 2 0 1 8 . h t t p : / / w w w. n i e l s e n . com/us/en/insights/news/2013/ latino-populations-are-g rowing-fastest-where- we-arent-looki n g. h t m l . 3 . M i k e D av i s , 2 0 0 0 . M a g i c a l U r b a n i s m : L a t i n o s Re i nv e n t t h e U. S. B i g C i t y ( L o n d o n : Ve r s o ) . 4. Infor mal interview conducte d by t h e a u t h o r s i n t h e s p r i n g o f 2 0 1 8 , C h a r l o t t e, N C . 5 . L e f e b v r e, H e n r i . 1 9 9 1 . T h e Production of Space (Oxford: Blackwell).


M O N RO E , N C : W H E N S M A L L TOW N U S A MEETS THE BORDER N I C H O L A S S C H A F E R & L AU R E N S C H A F E R I n R a d i c a l C i t i e s , a u t h o r Ju s t i n McGuirk, states that “the planned city can neither eliminate nor subsume the informal qualities and practices of its inhabitants … The informal persists; its inherent strengths resist and d e f l e c t e ff o r t s t o i m p o s e o r d e r. T h e t o t a l l y p l a n n e d c i t y is, therefore, a myth.”1 In other words, no matter how well-planned a town is, it is impossible to accurately pred i c t h o w t h e t o w n’s p e o p l e w i l l b e h av e, i n t e r a c t , a n d u l t i m a t e l y a l t e r t h e l a n d s c a p e ov e r t i m e. While not infor mal in the sense o f M c G u i r k ’s w o r k , o n e u n planned development that can be found in many southeaster n small towns is the emergence of concentrated Latino/a communities in historically Anglo-American areas. I n a s e n s e, s m a l l t o w n s l i k e M o n r o e, N o r t h C a r o l i n a , n o w feel the impacts of a seemingl y e x p a n d i n g b o r d e r. L o c a t e d approximately 20 miles southeast o f C h a r l o t t e, M o n r o e i s u n d e r going these same kinds of shifts. Like many North American small t o w n s , p o p u l a t i o n s h av e c h a n g e d as global, national and regiona l e c o n o m i e s h av e s h i f t e d . 2 A s many middle- and upper-class p e o p l e, m o s t o f w h o m a r e w h i t e a n d w h i t e c o l l a r w o r k e r s , m ov e closer to Charlotte and its surrounding suburbs, the Latino/a population in Monroe is

g r o w i n g, a n d t h e t o w n i s s l o w l y becoming more diverse in its demog raphics. A c c o r d i n g t o a s t u d y by Jo h n Chesser of UNC Charlotte Urb a n I n s t i t u t e, a s o f 2 0 1 0 , t h e Latina/o population made up n e a r l y a t h i r d o f t h e t o w n’s t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n . F u r t h e r m o r e, i n t h e l a s t 1 0 ye a r s , M o n r o e ’s L a t i n o / a population has g rown almost 20%--the 8th fastest g rowing Latino/a population g rowth in North Carolina.3 One result has been that historically “white towns” are experiencing significant shifts in demog raphics. Older generations are aging out w h i l e yo u n g e r g e n e r a t i o n s l e av e for greener and more socially and financially lucrative pastures e l s e w h e r e. Understanding the Past in Light of the Present The history of Monroe dates back to December 24, 1844. The town was founded with the intention to become the seat of Union County and was named a f t e r Ja m e s M o n r o e, w h o w a s the 5th president of the United S t a t e s . A f t e r Wo r l d Wa r I I , t h e city had an estimated population of 12,000, and 7,500 of them w e r e m e m b e r s o f t h e Ku K l u x Klan.4 The predominantly white city gar nered recognition for its racist residents after the sentencing of two African American boys, 9 a n d 7 ye a r s o l d , t o a r e f o r m a t o r y

u n t i l t h e y w e r e 2 1 ye a r s o l d f o r kissing a Caucasian girl on the c h e e k . Fa s t - f o r w a r d t o t o d a y a n d Monroe is quite a different town. As of 2010, the racial makeup o f t h e c i t y w a s 5 2 . 0 3 % W h i t e, 25.23% African American, and 29.43% Hispanic or Latino of a n y r a c e, a n d t h e p o p u l a t i o n h a s c o n t i n u e d t o c h a n g e. H o w e v e r, K l a n h i s t o r y i s n o t M o n r o e ’s o n l y h i s t o r y. A t i t s f o u d i n g, t h e t o w n c o n s i s t e d primarily of transit workers like railroad men who helped to lay t h e f o u n d a t i o n o f t h e t o w n’s t r a d e. A g r i c u l t u r e a n d s e a s o n a l w o r k a l s o s h a p e d t h e M o n r o e ’s h i s t o r y a s d i d t h e m i l i t a r y. A t o n e t i m e, M o n r o e w a s h o m e t o a Camp Sutton, which was named for a Monroe native named Fr a n k S u t t o n w h o w a s a f l i g h t s e r g e a n t i n t h e Ro y a l C a n a d i a n A i r Fo r c e. D u r i n g Wo r l d Wa r I I , it served as a training site for t h e U. S. A r m y C o r p s o f E n g i n e e r s a s w e l l a s a n ov e r f l o w s i t e f o r Fo r t B r a g g, a n d i t l a t e r w a s c o nv e r t e d i n t o a P r i s o n e r s o f Wa r c a m p. 5 A f t e r t h e c a m p w a s deactivated in 1946, Monroe was granted the 2000 acres of land, doubling the size of the t o w n . To d a y, t h a t a r e a , k n o w n a s S u t t o n Pa r k , h a s e v o l v e d i n t o a central hub for the Latina/o c o m m u n i t y. Much of the history and heritage in this part of Monroe has been relegated to signage and street names. It is ironic that a predominantly Latino/a commu50


n i t y i s c o n n e c t e d by s t r e e t s w i t h n a m e s s u c h a s M c I n t y r e, A l e x a n d e r, S u t h e r l a n d , a n d C o n f e d e r ate; but this is also evidence of an evolving neighborhood and the presence of a new border condition. The primary corridor in Sutton Pa r k i s Wa l k u p Av e n u e. C o n necting Independence Boulevard to the upcoming Monroe Exp r e s s w a y, t h e b u i l t e nv i r o n m e n t a l o n g Wa l k u p Av e n u e t r a n s i t i o n s q u i t e r a p i d l y. N e a r l y a l l o f t h e signs for stores and restaurants are in Spanish. One way that a border condition has become present within this neighborhood is through the emergence of L a t i n - o w n e d b u s i n e s s e s . Wi t h i n t h e p a s t f e w ye a r s , L a t i n o / a b u s i n e s s e s h av e s u r f a c e d i n e x i s t ing buildings originally used for a d i f f e r e n t p u r p o s e. O n e s u c h b u s i n e s s i s Ta q u e r i a L a U n i c a . Located in a rather inconspicu o u s b r i c k o f f i c e b u i l d i n g, t h e restaurant is only made evident by a b r i g h t ye l l o w a n d o r a n g e sign. Despite its modest appeara n c e f r o m t h e o u t s i d e, a c c o r d ing to several online reviews on Ye l p, i t i s o n e o f t h e b e s t M e x i can restaurants in the area. One reviewer wrote: “anybody that gives this less than five stars - well they are just not giving it straight. This is good food - authentic Mexican, and a really good price,” while another reviewer wrote “favorite authentic Mexican restaurant. I come here every week and enjoy it every time.”6 Ta q u e r i a L a U n i c a i s d o i n g s o well that there are now multiple storefronts in neighboring towns. Not only are these restaurants doing well, but they are creating job opportunities for the Latino/a population in their comm u n i t i e s . N e a r by, t h e r e i s a l s o Nueva Imagen, which is a barber shop and money transfere serv i c e s i t e. N u e v a I m a g e n o c c u p i e s a b u i l d i n g t h a t , u n t i l r e c e n t l y,

s a t a b a n d o n e d a n d b o a r d e d u p. Wi t h i n t h e p a s t c o u p l e o f ye a r s , the building has been completely refurbished and repainted; what w a s a n e ye s o r e i n t h e c o m m u nity now plays an active role in d e f i n i n g t h e b o r d e r ’s p r o d u c t i v e p r e s e n c e. T h e r e a r e s e v e r a l o t h er instances like these in Sutton Pa r k : b r i c k s t r i p m a l l s n o w s i t where Sutton Military base once w a s ; a n o l d h o u s e h av e b e e n c o n verted to Bar Mexicana; and a for mer warehouse is now decorated with bright green and red signs reading “Mexico Central,” n o w h o m e t o a g r o c e r y s t o r e. W h i l e t h e b o r d e r ’s p r e s e n c e i s more subtle in some instances, it is much more evident in other c a s e s . Wi t h i n t h e n e i g h b o r h o o d is a small but colorful super mark e t c a l l e d E l R a n c h e r o . Wi t h only about 10 parking spots, it l o o k s m o r e l i k e a c o nv e n i e n c e s t o r e t h a n a g r o c e r y s t o r e. T h e front and one side of the building are painted red with a blue t r i m . T h e o t h e r s i d e i s o r a n g e, a n d t h e b a c k i s p u r p l e. T h e variety of colors, along with the vibrant vinyl banners, gives the building a unique and exuberant c h a r a c t e r. N e x t t o t h e s u p e r m a r ket is an auto-repair shop in a blue prefabricated metal buildi n g. T h e s h o p ’s s i g n i s s i m p l y composed of black stenciled lettering on a white backg round. Next to the repair shop is a brick building housing a comp a n y c a l l e d G r a y b a r, w h i c h i s a leading distributor of electrical, communications, and data products. It is one of only a handful of businesses in the area that d o e s n o t h av e a n y S p a n i s h o n their sign. H e r e a B o r d e r, There a Border I n t e r e s t i n g l y, L a t i n o / a p o p u lations in Monroe appear to be s e l f - s e g r e g a t i n g. A c c o r d i n g t o r e s e a r c h e r D a n i e l L i c h t e r, o f ten people of the same cultural b a c k g r o u n d t h a t m ov e t o n e w places will g roup together for

their own comfort and economic p u r p o s e s . 7 Wi t h m o s t e m p l o y ment opportunities for immigrants being in jobs related to a g r i c u l t u r e a n d f o o d p r o c e s s i n g, it is no sur prise that Monroe is becoming what Daniel Lichter would call a Latino/a boomtown. But, this boomtown clearly has a concentrated Latino/a central business district, which s e e m s t i e d t o a n i nv i s i b l e a n d o f t e n c h a n g i n g b o r d e r. One of the most telling signs of the changing border condition in this neighborhood was the c l o s i n g o f a 1 1 5 - ye a r - o l d c h u r c h that had a presence in the Sutt o n Pa r k n e i g h b o r h o o d s i n c e the 1950s. The church for merly k n o w n a s S u t t o n Pa r k B a p t i s t shut its doors in 2015. According to an article published in t h e C h a r l o t t e O b s e r v e r by A d a m Bell, the church once had approximately 300 members; at the t i m e o f i t s c l o s i n g, t h e c o n g r e gation had dwindled down to 18 p e o p l e w h o w e r e a l l ov e r t h e a g e of 65.8 Despite some efforts to reach out to the predominantly Latin o / a c o m m u n i t y, t h e c h u r c h ’s congregation could not get the population to g row and was forced to shut its doors. Shortl y t h e r e a f t e r, a L a t i n o / a c h u r c h with about 100 members called I g l e s i a C a m i n o m ov e d i n t o t h e building and has been there ever s i n c e. T h e w o r s h i p s e r v i c e s a r e completely in Spanish as is the sign that welcomes visitors. A s M o n r o e ’s d e m o g r a p h i c s c o n t i n u e t o c h a n g e, t h e r e i s e v i dence that the border is starting to expand to other parts of the town. More upscale stores like H a r r i s Te e t e r a r e m ov i n g o u t while stores that tend to appeal to lower-income g roups, such as C o m p a r e Fo o d s , a r e m ov i n g i n . R a t h e r t h a n Ve r i z o n , S p r i n t , a n d T- M o b i l e b e i n g t h e m a i n c e l l u l a r p h o n e p r ov i d e r s , c h e a p e r a l t e r natives such as Metro PCS and B o o s t M o b i l e n o w h av e a m u c h


stronger presence in this comm u n i t y. A l m o s t e v e r y s h o p p i n g c e n t e r i n t h e n e a r by a r e a h a s a t least one Latino/a-owned business, many of which are either salons or restaurants/bakeries. Predicting the Future Monroe is certainly not alone in dealing with the issue of the d i s s o l v e d b o r d e r. I n t h e f a r m i n g community of Ulysses, Kansas, the Latino/a population has increased so significantly that ordering a cheeseburger with fries has become somewhat of a n a n o m a l y, a n d p o t a t o s a l a d is described as “exotic”. The L a t i n o / a p o p u l a t i o n i n Fr e m o n t , Nebraska has been on the rise thanks to jobs in meat packagi n g f a c i l i t i e s a n d , i n S i l e r C i t y, North Carolina, Caucasian and Latino/a children play soccer together as their parents sit separately and do not speak to each other because of language barriers.9 The towns are different, but t h e i s s u e s a r e t h e s a m e. M o n r o e i s c h a n g i n g b e c a u s e yo u n g e r g e n e r a t i o n s w h o m i g h t h av e g rown up there find the small, r u r a l t o w n t o b e b o r i n g. T h e i r f a m i l i e s m a y l i v e t h e r e, b u t t h e r e is not much to do, and technolog y-driven lifestyles are attracting p e o p l e t o t h e c i t y. D e s p i t e t h e potential for economic g rowth, it seems as if the town is being a b a n d o n e d by t h e u p p e r - a n d middle-class. Large companies

a r e m ov i n g o u t a n d h e a d i n g t o wards faster-g rowing towns such a s Wa x h a w, We s l e y C h a p e l , a n d We d d i n g t o n . O v e r t i m e, t h e t o w n o f M o n roe will change to suit the needs o f t h e c o m m u n i t i e s m ov i n g i n , which, at this moment, include Latino/a g roups. A once predominantly “white” town full of KKK members has evolved into a v a r i e d , m i x e d c o m m u n i t y, a n d Monroe could become a predominantly Latino/a town within t h e n e x t 5 0 ye a r s . W h i l e i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o p r e d i c t t h e f u t u r e, one thing is clear: Monroe will b e m o r e d i v e r s e d u e, i n p a r t , to global, national and regional trends that now impact both l a r g e a n d s m a l l c i t i e s a l i k e.

Endnotes: 1 . Ju s t i n M c G u i r k , 2 0 1 4 . R a d i cal Cities: Across Latin America i n S e a r c h o f a N e w A r c h i t e c t u r e. ( L o n d o n : Ve r s o B o o k s ) 2 . M e ye r, Vi r g i n i a . 2 0 1 4 . H i s p a n i c Po p u l a t i o n G a i n s O f f s e t Ru r a l O u t - M i g r a t i o n , Ke e p S m a l l To w n s B u s t l i n g. C e n t e r f o r Ru r a l A f f a i r s : D r u p a l . 3 . Jo h n C h e s s e r, 2 0 1 2 . H i s p a n i c s i n N. C . : B i g n u m b e r s i n s m a l l towns. UNC Charlotte Urban Institute: https://ui.uncc.edu/ story/hispanic-latino-population-north-carolina-cities-census.

4 . J. D. L e w i s , 2 0 0 7 . A H i s t o r y o r M o n r o e, N o r t h C a r o l i n a . h t t p : / / w w w. c a r o l a n a . c o m / N C / To w n s / M o n r o e _ N C . h t m l 5 . R . D. B i l l i n g e r, J r. & J. A . Wi l l i f o r d , 2 0 0 6 . Wo r l d Wa r I I . NCpedia: University of North C a r o l i n a P r e s s . h t t p s : / / w w w. ncpedia.org/world-war-ii-part3-world-war-ii 6 . Ta q u e r i a L a U n i c a - M o n r o e, N C . Ye l p : Ye l p I n c . h t t p s : / / w w w. ye l p. c o m / b i z / t a q u e r i a - l a - u n i c a - m o n r o e ? s o r t _ by = date_asc. 7 . D. T. L i c h t e r, 2 0 0 9 . Re s i d e n tial segregation in new Hispanic destinations: Cities, suburbs, and rural communities compared. Science Direct: Elsevier I n c . h t t p s : / / w w w. s c i e n c e d i rect.com/science/article/pii/ S0049089X09000908 8 . A d a m B e l l , 2 0 1 5 . 1 1 5 - ye a r old church closing in Monroe this weekend. The Charlotte O b s e r v e r, C h a r l o t t e O b s e r v e r. c o m . h t t p : / / w w w. c h a r l o t t e o b s e r v e r. c o m / n e w s / l o c a l / a r t i cle32444157.html. 9 . Jo h n B i e w e n , & Te n n e s s e e Wa t s o n , 2 0 0 8 . G r o w i n g L a t i n o Po p u l a t i o n Re d e f i n e s S m a l l To w n . N a t i o n a l P u b l i c R a d i o : n p r. o r g


School of Architecture

Deep and Wide: The Expanded Border and the New (Latin) American South  

The spatial territories and social networks within which Latinx immigrant populations live and work in the South offers robust opportunities...

Deep and Wide: The Expanded Border and the New (Latin) American South  

The spatial territories and social networks within which Latinx immigrant populations live and work in the South offers robust opportunities...

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