Friday, April 1, 2016

"En los tendederos"

As a child my family and I payed some visits to relatives who lived in Riverside. Being that Los Angeles (where I am from) is about an hour away from Riverside, I did not visit too often. Although my mother is very accustomed to the city life, I recall her saying things like "Riverside is very calm" and "There are many ranches here, it reminds me of Mexico". When we visited my uncle Hector, I remember thinking that Riverside was a smaller version of Los Angeles. In fact, many areas in Riverside have pasteurization of fruits and vegetables (especially citrus), farm animals, and ranches.

According to the census of 2014 approximately 48% of people living in Riverside identify as Hispanic or Latino. It is a possibility that, like my mother, many people love Riverside for its green lands, space for farming, and maybe even the resemblance that Riverside has to the places they once lived in. 

When I was admitted into the University of California, Riverside, I got a better feel for, not only the demographics, but also the impact that community involvement has on Riverside county. The most recent example of such impact is the "On the Line" art exhibition project. I found out about this project through Professor Susan Ossman during an Anthropology Club meeting. I was curious about it, so I told Professor Ossman I was willing to help. One of my main responsibilities during our first "On the Line" exhibition was to manage the raffle introduced to us by Carrie Ida Edinger. I was asked to make a poster that announced the raffle and I took the opportunity to show the environmental benefit of hanging clothing on clotheslines. I drew a long clothesline and hung a couple of pieces of
clothing on it. The sun on the poster was used as a way for people to see that the sun is a powerful source of natural energy that could help us dry our clothes faster and preserve colors better. 

I also wrote the words "Laundry Raffle" in English and Spanish. Based on what I know about the high population of "Hispanics" in Riverside I knew it would be beneficial to use Spanish to help incorporate more people into the raffle. As I was walking around to ask people to join the raffle I held conversations with those who only spoke Spanish and it made me realize that making a bilingual raffle sign is something that allowed "Hispanic" people to know that a raffle was happening in this event. It is a way of being inclusive of other people and let them know that we want them to take part of the event too. 

Being part of this project was one of the best decisions I have made during my time in college. With "On the Line" I heard people of many backgrounds take the basic concept of hanging clothing on clotheslines and turn it into something very poetic and significant to them. It deepened my personal understanding of the importance of paying mind to the seemingly minor details of everyday life. 

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