Out of the millions of immigrants who fight to come to the U.S. every year, retired boxer Ignacio Orestes Salazar Batista finally won the match.

One day, back in Cuba, Salazar’s cousin was going to the gym to spar. Salazar went along in case he needed to defend his cousin. He was afraid the more experienced boxer would try to do more than just box.

At the gym, Salazar was asked if he would like to put on gloves to spar. He had never seen boxing before, but he geared up for a loss that would lead to a career he never imagined.

Marcelo Kramer begins each of his capoeira classes with a history lesson. Then comes the music, and he expects everyone to join. Only after that does he begin instruction in the martial art.

Kramer, 33, has taught capoeira at ETSU’s Basler Center for Physical Activity since May 2016. He works hard to incorporate the cultural and historical significance of capoeira into the physical aspects of the class.

Soccer, football, futbol, whatever language is spoken and no matter where the origin, this sport has a global language.

Throughout the cold winter nights in Johnson City, groups of men and women from various backgrounds come together to play futbol.

For Hispanic Americans, futbol is an important part of life. The Johnson City Indoor Soccer leagues offer a place for communities to come together and play the game they love.

The day of a farm worker starts at the crack of dawn and stretches well into evening. These work days also call for hearty meals to keep workers energized.

Preparing these meals makes for an even earlier morning for some.

From April to October, Anabel Andrade begins her days in the kitchen at 4 a.m. to provide homemade and authentic Mexican meals to the migrant workers at Scott’s Farm and Jones and Church Farm in Unicoi County, Tennessee. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, she is the fuel for these workers’ day of strenuous labor.

Felipe De Oliveira Fiuza wants to make the Language and Culture Resource Center at East Tennessee State University more inclusive of international students, not just those with Hispanic heritage.

Fiuza joined the ETSU faculty in August 2017 as director of the LCRC and clinical assistant professor of Spanish. This literature scholar and translator says he is excited about the challenge of uniting the international community with the rich culture of East Tennessee.

“I am what people call a generalist in my field,” said Fiuza, “someone who can work in different areas.”

Erlan Aristides Martinez and his wife Mima Fabiola Castro made some crucial decisions in their lifetimes, decisions that have forever changed not only their lives, but those of their sons.

Martinez and Castro now live in Bristol, Tennessee, thousands of miles from their place of birth: Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.

Many universities and colleges in the United States accept students from around the globe, and East Tennessee State University is one of them. Students travel for hours to ETSU and for Maria Avila, it was no different.

Avila arrived as a freshman in spring 2013. She traveled from Cuernavaca, Mexico, the capital city in the state of Morelos. When she went home after a semester in the United States, she wasn’t sure she wanted to return. She missed her family and home.

Limestone, Tennessee, is a small farming community. Most of its businesses are auto repair shops, gas stations, a medical clinic, restaurants and a post office. CrossFit Glorified, owned by the Florez family, is the only fitness facility.

CrossFit is not just a business to Gustavo “Gus” Florez and his family: It’s a passion.

Gus and his wife Lourdes owned and operated sports facilities and a premier competitive soccer program in Connecticut before deciding to move to Limestone to be with family. After moving they decided to start their own CrossFit affiliation. Their daughter Camila and nephew Samuel train with with them. Gus’ mother, Dennyr Florez, also does CrossFit training.

Thursday, 12 October 2017 20:45

It takes two (Uruguayans and one American) to tango

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In 2010, Michael Luchtan set out on an adventure to Mexico, hoping to learn Spanish and study Mexican heritage through its music. Along the way, he hoped to find connections to his own culture.

In 2016, Rodrigo Guridi came to East Tennessee State University from Uruguay to continue his music studies. His friend Diego Núñez would later follow.

Through Arrabal, a tango trio born from the three men’s love of music, Luchtan’s goals have been realized.

“Music doesn’t know about borders,” Núñez said. “People used to cross borders and music would just go with the people.”

Martin Ceron has never met his newborn son Enrique. He has not set foot in the United States in two years. His wife, Brenda Bustos, is 2,000 miles away in Erwin, Tennessee, while he is in Mexico City.

The family is being torn apart as a result of U.S. legislation on illegal immigrants.

“My parents are here, but he is my family,” said Bustos. “My family is down there, and I know he needs my support.”

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