Latina Voices of Des Moines
The purpose: The purpose of this study was to provide Latinas in Des Moines an opportunity to describe their lives to others: their families, Latinas who followed in their footsteps, and those in the Des Moines community concerned with fairness and opportunity for all. The problem: The study described the lives of Hispanic women living in Des Moines, Iowa and included the Latina's views of problems and opportunities living in that city. Procedures: Twenty-four Latino women who were over the age of 17 and who had been in the area for over two years were interviewed with a fixed set of five questions. The interviews were transcribed, coded. and findings developed. Findings: Decisions to immigrate were often tortuous, but even more of a challenge was the issue of learning a new language and culture. The Latinas had to overcome cultural differences, find employment, raise their children, and deal with discrimination and a way of life that they only faintly understood. But they maintained both a strong identity as Latinas as well as the ability to adapt to their new environment. Conclusions: Latinas were restrained by language. culture. and discrimination and worried about their children's adaptation. The local community did not recognize their contributions. especially the labor they provided. but also largely unrecognized were their contributions to the ethnic diversity of that growing city. Latinas added ethnic foods, festivals, music, and maybe most of all their determination to make it in America. Despite adversity. however, most Latinas saw success in their effort to make Des Moines their home. Recommendations: More opportunities for learning English needed to be made available as well as centralized location for immigrating Latinas to be able to find useful information about laws, how to attain citizenship, and an array of issues critical to emigres . Finally. cultural exchanges with the non-Latino community needed to be made available to enhance the life of all.
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