Three Youth Leaders Return to "Salud: Healing through the Arts"
For this year's project, some of the youth participating this summer had already been here the summer before. But there were some, that were brave enough to join the team, whose participation has made a significant difference in our work. I would like to share with you some information about these youth, as well as their thoughts on the work they performed this summer.
Laura Cabral (pictured above, left) contacted us last year, wondering if the SALUD team could visit her high school and do a workshop on immigration with her and her classmates. She is 17years old, daughter of immigrants, who is continuously thinking about how to contribute to creating a more accepting and inclusive society. In her application to the program she wrote "My high school is going to the early stages of ‘diversification’ and going to school there has helped me understand that many times the reason why people stereotype or discriminate is unintentional ignorance."
I am working on becoming ambidextrous, reading good books with a stash of chocolates next to me is one of my relaxation methods, and if my TV is on its because a telenovela is on. I am an incoming high school senior who will be doing a lot of paperwork and writing these next few months. One of my goals is to go to a college where I will be able to grow as a person and have peers who enjoy learning from other people.
The concept of a radionovela intrigued me because i knew that I would have to be practicing my writing skills in Spanish. I considered working with other young people an important and valuable opportunity that would help us to expose and educate others about issues and topics that might be unknown or they might feel uncomfortable discussing.
An important part of creating the scripts and diving into the topics being exposed was having to put yourself in other people's shoes. The first phase of this included a lot of sharing stories but think I most enjoyed the heated debates and discussions we tended to have during our lunch breaks. We could be making tortas and be arguing about male and female roles in a household, when or should a fetus be considered a living being, whether the drinking age should be the same as the minimum age for a draft.
When you speak into a microphone it sounds like you are gasping for air after every other word.
That younger people can understand the sacrifices families have to go through (immigrating). That cultural stereotypes about sexual orientation are unacceptable therefore, learning about terms such as intersex or transgender and differences amongst is something that adults can do without being embarrassed. It can also provide (now unaccustomed) but one of my favorite form of entertainment; storytelling. A person can be in the car, doing chores, or at the computer listening to our depictions of immigrant raids, girl fights, or learn about symptoms of eating disorders.
Carolyne Luna, 18, is also the daughter of immigrants (pictured above, right). This is the first time she created a final product in Spanish, and has been one of the people who makes sure that SALUD's work is inclusive of a variety of communities.
I am the youngest of three children, and I will be attending DePaul University in a few weeks actually. As of right now I am majoring in Women and Gender Studies, but I have yet any idea what I plan to do with that major. I grew up and live in La Villita, which will be interesting when I move out to the Lincoln Park campus. The people I will constantly be surrounded by will be plain different, but it'll be an exciting new experience.
I was interested in the SALUD program because the idea of creating radio skits in the first place would be a new learning experience, and second, the topic of immigrant health is such a broad topic where many controversial and common issues can be discussed . . . that should be discussed, and it seemed like an offer I couldn't pass up.
My work this past summer has ben about teamwork, creating "consciousness," and about becoming educated to educate. We had to work together to create a story surrounding mental health and the thought trends that are usually seen within immigrant families. And so from that the team wrote "Los de afuera hechos en america." This story covers assimilation of not only a family from Mexico, but also a student trying to go through high school despite his self expression. It also covers how although it may seem that people are going through different things due to different reasons, it doesn't mean that there's no connection.
Something that was discussed for a few days were the FCC rules. I knew what the rules were based on television; never before have I heard an F-bomb on regular programing, and there's a reason for that. One day Tania came in and explained most of the rules (the ones that applied) to us, and you never really realize how restricted some of laws seem until you have to work your way around them. For example, we couldn't use any popular song, and so we solved that problem by using one of my friend's song that he composed. We also became creative with hiding certain words and leaving it up to the audience's imagination. It was quite interesting. :)
I hope these radio novelas stimulate discussions that will hopefully result in better actions within our community. They cover two big health topics and within them there are even more specific subtopics. Hopefully not only will out stories and work with editing be impressive, but as well as he depth that they both go into.
I would simply like to see the novelas expand in popularity so that the discussions can occur more frequently. No one is going to learn if questions aren't asked.
The key words are: creating awareness / conscientiousness!
Jose "Josach" Chavez was known at SALUD for starting great debates and conversations during the lunch time, and during our workshops and trainings. Pictured above.
Hola, my name is Josach and I am a minority student whose heritage stems from a now defunct sovereign Mexico. My parents emigrated from their birthplace around twenty five years ago and settled in Chicago. My parents are the definition of responsibility and vitality. They made sure that I had the resources to obtain an education. Having said this, I now have to strive to make sure I become a responsible young adult with the same vitality that my parents had, if not even more. I have a thirst for knowledge that I know will never be quenched, but it is my mission to achieve a respectable status of knowledge.
One of 2008’s SALUD participants informed me of this summer internship and I was immensely intrigued. I applied early and was extremely eager to await that imperative call which would determine my summer. I am a big advocate for human rights and civil responsibility that when I was told these radionovelas would be centralized around the immigrant community I was immediately drawn to this program as well as radio arte’s work in general.
This year I approached my work as a way to awaken others of the unconventional pathways to thought. Being able to pick the themes and write for our radionovelas was instrumental to the process in which the youth’s voice and ideas would be acknowledged from the get go. The final product makes sure to innately empower the mind to consider the perils of our society as well as leave a gap open for further questioning and discussion.
Before SALUD I had obtrusive roads to overcome with group work, but as time went by SALUD objectified me into learning the arts of contact with the minds of several individuals clustered into one small board room. These arts became malleable to me in the sense that I had to learn to listen and be patient with ideas so that ultimately all ideas could be taken as productive efforts.
Ultimately I expect for the listeners of our radionovelas to become conscious of our society’s objectification of deviance. I hope that our radionovelas breaks the semblance that is created through the portrait of an ignorant mentality. Live with salud mental.
Watch and Listen
New Research & Recommendations
This report (PDF 3.8MB) offers guidance for community organizations and those who fund social change in how best to harness the power of local media-making for community health improvement. Spanish-language version is now available. Una versión en español de este informe esta en la web.