¡Hola, family! I’m Joa Jacobo Rivera, communities editor for La Voz and The Arizona Republic, where my primary job intertwines beautifully with who I am — as a reporter and as a person.
Soy de aquí. Y also soy de allá.
This slight tweak to the tagline of La India María – a beloved indigenous Mexican heroine whose comedic cinema was tied to immigrants recently arriving in the United States in the ’60s (and arguably racist, but that’s a story for another times) – is the one I consistently choose to describe an identity that many migrant children struggle with.
La India María, played by Mexican actress María Elena Velasco, responded with “Ni de aquí, ni de allá”, when asked where she came from, noting the difficulty of living in a country where you are not not entirely home, but “home”, your native land, isn’t really your home anymore either.
To be from here, the United States, and to be from there, Mexico, is a privilege that I carry proudly, fully embracing the bilingual and bicultural education that my parents were able to offer to my brothers and sisters and me.
It’s a privilege that I also carry with me in the work that I do as Communities Editor here, bringing more representation to Arizona’s Spanish-speaking and Latino-identified communities in both languages, and pushing more journalists to embrace the richness of bilingualism. report and content creation.
English and Spanish: a love story
Like me, there are many children of immigrants and of immigrants themselves who feel this sense of mixed belonging, where the customs and traditions learned in another country now play out fully and unapologetically in their homes. physical.
I was born in Orange County, California, in Santa Ana, arguably one of the most Mexican towns in the United States – as the Latinos in the area proudly declare. But I’ve never known a house for more than two years at a time. My family has moved around a lot. My dad, a day laborer, moved us from town to town across Southern California to better fit his job.
But once I was 8, and throughout the next decade, I knew two houses: SoCal and Fresnillo, Zacatecas, México. My English never disappeared. My Spanish has only improved.
When I made a permanent return to the United States at the age of 18, I kept my love for Mexico and swore never to let go. It was then, and only then, that I understood something of an immigrant experience similar to that of my parents. It is this notion that pushed me into the field of journalism.
I wanted our stories to be told, read and heard. Being seen. And in order to keep my bilingual nature, I opted for a career in information in Spanish. I edited for La Opinión, then chose a career as a freelancer, writing mostly for La Opinión and Excélsior, while striving to complete graduate school.
I’ve written stories about Latinas who created their own safe space to learn martial arts in Boyle Heights because it was the only way they could learn to defend themselves by marching the streets of Los Angeles. I told the stories of high school Latinas from the San Fernando Valley whose tech knowledge and skills made MIT like them. And I’ve written piece after piece of countless fathers, sisters and tíos from San Diego to Santa Ana who have been apprehended by ICE, launching an endless struggle for families and communities to get their loved ones back.
Stories like these are found across the United States, in cities and regions where Latinos from all walks of life come together to form a community.
That’s why when the opportunity to travel to Phoenix presented itself, I didn’t hesitate, I jumped at the chance to continue to serve my people in the best way I know how: storytelling. .
Estamos para esribirlos
Somos de allá, lo vemos en los periódicos y noticieros en español. But we are also from here, from La République, where our cultural plurality deserves to be portrayed in the same shameless way through which we exist.
My colleagues at La Voz and The Republic have documented our stories, giving voice to our bilingual and bicultural communities, in the same way that other Spanish and English language mainstream media have done for decades – it’s rare , however, when they do so as one.
My colleagues and I are here to amplify the voices of our Brown community, fortify a bridge between our two publications, and hopefully one day make it non-existent; where a bilingual newsroom is no longer just something Millennials and Gen Z should look for in Latino-focused outlets. Rather, where they can now be seen in a space where traditionally Brown’s joy, success and aspiration are not commonly represented.
Seeing yourself in this light, in this writing, in this story and being able to say “it’s me. Soy de aqui.”
Familia, estamos para servi; for contar sus historias.
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