Farah Alkafaf writes about her experience as a “first generation Shia woman from Iraq living as a minority in the southern United States.” Her mother, Ikbal Mohammed, relates her experiences in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s that caused her leave and establish a new life in New Orleans. Mohammed explains the sociopolitical context of the war and how it impacted her daily life. She also speaks to the pressures of assimilation and how she maintained her faith and core cultural values through connection with the New Orleans Muslim community. In dialogue with her mother’s story, Alkhafaf explores her own upbringing, values, and her role in her faith community.
Lorvelis A. Madueño
Lorvelis Madueño immigrated from Venezuela to New Orleans with her sister and her sister’s wife seeking stability after the 2014 Venezuelan protests. Madueño describes the sociopolitical climate of Venezuela, different race and ethnic understandings in the United States, gender and sexuality, and the gaita style of Venezuelan folk music. In conversations with her sister Loraine, Madueño reveals the similarities and differences in their upbringing and immigration experiences. Through these observations Madueño hopes to highlight the importance of immigrants sharing their stories.
Kinchen explores her family’s French-American heritage by interviewing her great-grandparents, Jack and Annette Bunel. The Bunels were born in Guadeloupe and immigrated to the United States, eventually settling in New Orleans in the 1950s. The Bunel’s experiences as descendants of wealthy plantation owners lend insight into the dynamics of Guadeloupe in the 20th century when oppressed populations sought to address inequalities caused by centuries of colonization. Kinchen also reflects on her upbringing in Hammond, how she maintained connections to Louisiana while living in Wisconsin, and the role her late Uncle Sonny played in understanding her French heritage.
Trevor Nathan tells the story of his first visit to his parents’ home country of Antigua. The Nathans immigrated to Louisiana in 1990 and raised Trevor and his brother Travis on the Westbank of New Orleans. In interviewing his father, George Nathan, Trevor seeks to better understand himself and his family’s position between two cultures. George describes his perspective of the family’s visit to Antigua, his upbringing on the island, and his immigration experience.
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