Tuesday, 08 October 2013 00:00

Latino art struggles to be seen in East Tennessee

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When you think of Latin American art, what do you picture?

While some may have a specific idea in mind, there’s really no way to define an artist’s style simply by looking at their heritage, as artist Mouzer Coelho – whose drawings can be seen throughout the article -- points out.

“A lot of people think that if you’re a Latin artist, you automatically do Chicano art, and I don’t do anything like that at all, so I wanted to show people that Latin Americans do all kinds of different things, not just that kind of style,” he said.

Tuesday, 08 October 2013 00:00

A hard worker with a passion for farming

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Anyone who walks on to José Diaz’s farm will immediately be met by a unique cut-out, goat-for-sale yard sign. He said people like the sign. Goats aren’t the easiest animals to raise, Diaz said, “and everything I do is a lot of work.”

He wakes up early every morning to feed his animals, trim their nails if needed and prepare for the day. Diaz likes goat meat because he grew up eating it and drinking the milk in his birthplace of Carretero, Mexico. He moved here almost 30 years ago he said and hasn’t been back for a long time.

Now he can be found at the Jonesborough Farmer’s market rain or shine during the warmer months of the year, and selling online during the colder months. Jose Diaz is not only known for his goat raising but also his chemical-free produce and chicken eggs.

Tuesday, 08 October 2013 00:00

Studying far from home

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Twenty-year-old Sherry Loera Martínez is the first in her family to attend college in the United States, and she’s 1,400 miles away from home.

“I was prepared for everything but the culture shock when I got here,” Loera said.

Loera goes entire semesters without seeing her family because her closest relatives, her uncles, live in Altanta. Her parents are not legal residents of the United States, so they can’t cross the border at all. Loera only gets to visit them and her younger siblings during summer breaks.

Debajo de las escaleras de madera de la Iglesia Católica de Notre Dame en Greenville, Tenn., una joven muchacha lentamente camina por el pasillo hacia su condición de mujer.


Ella es escoltada por su madre y su padrastro, y sigue a una procesión de señoritas en vestidos rojos y señores en uniformes blancos de oficiales de marina. Su vestido es rojo brillante y voluminoso. Lleva puesta una tiara de plata en su cabeza. Su nombre es Leslie, y hoy es su día; hoy es su quinceañera.

Javier Martinez Vargas sat in a booth one day last fall, counting the money he made waiting tables that afternoon at El Matador in Johnson City, Tenn.

A customer asked him if he was planning on doing anything for Hispanic Heritage Month. Martinez Vargas, a Mexican national and legal permanent resident of the U.S., shook his head. Then the customer asked him what he thought about the word ‘Hispanic.’

“I don’t really care what they call me,” Martinez Vargas said. “To me, [Latino] sounds better than Hispanic or Mexican.”

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