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OneRouge Community Check-In - Week 174



Nola.com reported Nearly 85,000 Hispanic people moved to Louisiana between 2000 and 2010; without them, the state would have shrunk by about 20,000 people. The Advocate reported that between 2010 and 2020, the Hispanic population in EBR specifically grew 88%. And although those are interesting statistics, “[t]he origins of Spanish-speaking Latino Louisiana can be traced to the arrival of Alonso Alvarez de Pineda (c. 1492-1520) in 1519. Alvarez de Pineda sailed from Cuba to explore the uncharted territories between the Florida peninsula - modern-day Arkansas and Louisiana - and the southern Gulf of Mexico region.” This week’s call kicks off our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. We intend to accomplish a couple of things with this series. First, it’s just a little reminder that not all Spanish speakers are the same or come from Mexico. We already know that poverty impact our new neighbors differently than those of us who are natural born citizens. So we will be delving into how the immigrant experience can differ depending upon country of origin. And we might even learn the difference between Hispanic and Latino. Please join us and our featured speakers as we learn what it means to be an immigrant in South Louisiana:

  • Marcela Hernandez (Colombia) - social worker and Program and Organizing Manager for Louisiana Organization for Refugees and Immigrants (LORI)

  • Lorinda Sealey (Panama) - Graduate Nursing Educator and Coordinator

  • José Fermin Ceballos (Dominican Republic) - singer, musician songwriter, arranger, producer


Enlight, Unite, & Ignite!


 

Notes

Lorinda Sealey: You can't just go by what at face value. You need to get to know that person. Ask some questions. And I'll let you know who they are and what they need. Most of all, what they need. Because their needs will be different depending on that person behind the facade. So I'm from Panama. I came here. to Louisiana in 1987.

Because my husband got a job at LSU and so I trotted along. But I'm a nurse by profession. And so I taught nursing at Southeastern Louisiana University for 28 years. I retired 5 years ago. A big component of what I taught was cultural competence. And I cannot tell you how important that is. in the healthcare world. people have health beliefs and practices that you would not imagine. And so when you're talking to them about foods, if you tell them you need to eat a high protein diet you have to put it in the context of what they normally eat. Because they're not going to eat what you tell them to eat. And I would tell my students that all the time.

So my dissertation was on this topic. After I retired, I became very involved with my church. We have a committee, the University of Presbyterian Church, we have a committee called Mission and Peacemaking. And what we do is we make alliances with agencies in the community. And one, someone approached us and said, This organization, the Louisiana Organization for Refugees and Immigrants they are celebrating the first, I think it was their second war refugee day, and could you give them some money?

And so we did. And I decided to go to the event to see what it was all about. And that's when I met Dauda Sesay, who is the Executive Director or President of LORI. And I was really impressed and intrigued by what was being done. And so I invited him to come and do a presentation at our church.

And at the time, coincidentally, we were doing a series on immigration as part of our Sunday school. So Dauda came and talked. And if Dauda, you get sucked in. And I ended up volunteering a lot, and now I'm chair of the board of directors of LORI.

Pepper Roussel: That's perfect Ms. Lorinda, that's perfect.

Lorinda Sealey: So that's how I met Marcela, and that's how I ended up here.

Pepper Roussel: Thank you so much. Last year when we talked about Hispanic Heritage Month, we spent some time talking about what is the what are these differences in culture look like as they show up in healthcare? How is it different for the immigrants or new neighbors who attend school?

Is there some sort of support that's needed even with translation shift Is it about just translating the words from one language to the next, or is there more competency that's necessary? And so all of these things really do bring us back to the OneRouge mission, which is about addressing poverty and how is this different.

In the Hispanic or Latino community. And there was a question that came up earlier and I do want to get back to it before we go too far into the rabbit hole of poverty, but Hispanic versus Latino. Ms. Lorinda has shared her thoughts on Hispanic and Latino. Marcella, I can see you nodding your head.

Can you share with us how you identify? Are you Hispanic or are you Latino? Are you both? Because you do look like what we think, what I think of when I think of Hispanic. And I will be very honest and say that, whereas most people will not say exactly that.

Marcela Hernandez: Sure. So first of all, let me say the difference between Latino and Hispanic is very simple.

Latino is that you are a person that comes from a Latin American country. Hispanic is a person who speaks Spanish, okay? For example, I am Hispanic and Latina because I am from Colombia and I speak Spanish. Someone from Brazil is Latina but is not Hispanic because Brazilians speak Portuguese. That person is Latina.

A person from Spain is Hispanic, but not Latina, because Spain is in Europe, but they speak Spanish, okay? For me, I am Hispanic and Latina. Now, in terms of race, it's a whole different story. If you ask me, I am white. I can be whiter than what I am. I am white, Hispanic. And this is really tricky, because When I came to the United States, when I was 18 years old, this is when I realized I was not white.

And that created a huge crisis identity. I was 18 years old, people were telling me, you're not white, and I kept on looking at myself, and I said, I can't be whiter than what I am. I, and that was actually the reason why I ended up being at Southern, because learning about race relations, it really just tripped my head, and I needed to understand the reasons behind people were being defiant about my identity.

Pepper Roussel: That is fascinating. And so that really does make me wonder are there differences in the way. So same question Fermin, but are there differences in ways that you'll have experienced being an immigrant coming from different countries, coming as different identities being in South Louisiana?

Miss Lorinda and I talked for a long time and she was sharing that she is, which is a funny story because she is mistaken for me as in an African American. And when I was in Panama, I was mistaken for her as an Afro-Latina. And yeah, true. I would not be mistaken for Marcella.

But Fermin tell us how do you identify Latino, Hispanic African, Afro-Latino?

José Fermin Ceballos: I'm from myself Afro Caribbean. Yeah, I'm from the Caribbean because we belong to Latin America, but we are Caribbean. We talk about Dominican Republic, Cuban, Puerto Rico Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint Cruz, and all the ISIS to the Caribbean. We are Caribbean people we belong to Latino community and also to the Hispanic world, but we identify as Caribbean.

I'm Afro-Caribbean from Dominican Republic. And we have a lot of things in common with the rest of Latin America, but we also have our differences. As a Caribbean with the food and the music and the way that we act, the way that we celebrate and we do things to each other. We have our differences.

Also, we have differences. Talking to the Spanish language, because a lot of people think that we are Latinos and we all talk in the same way, we all think in the same way, but it's not. And each country of, each Latino country have, they have their own culture, their own things that they, the identification and everything, it's like, it's a single thing.

It's not how can I say, we have our single culture, but in the same way, we have a lot of things that we can't share, but I consider myself if you maybe ask to other Dominican people, they will say, I consider myself a Dominican, I say, I'm Afro, Afro-Caribbean people, or Afro-Dominican,

Pepper Roussel: That's really interesting.

So I had not, which is very, just very single and narrow of me that I had not really thought about the Dominican Republic, which is an island or half of an island anyway that you would consider yourself Afro-Caribbean. But I think that is part of the conversation that we're having this year.

We probably should have had last year, as I repeat around what does it mean to be Hispanic? What does it mean to integrate into South Louisiana? There are a number of things that we have in common.

José Fermin Ceballos: I'm sorry, I didn't talk a little bit about it, but if you let me, I can talk yeah. Yeah.

Maybe, yeah, because here in Louisiana, I feel at home, I said at the beginning, because I, here in Louisiana, but most in New Orleans, I feel like a lot of influences from the Caribbean in the music, in the food how people, the charm of the people, I feel at home when I came to Louisiana, to New Orleans, Louisiana, I just stay here because also I learned a lot about music and yeah, I feel really grateful to be here.

I identify myself with this place. And we have a lot of history from Caribbean and Louisiana. It's not easy to find because I know the education system in here, in our state, and also in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean, sometimes they, or most of the time, they don't want to share those stories for some reason, but we have a lot of things to share.

Pepper Roussel: Yeah, we've got a lot of things to share up to and including a history, right? Louisiana spoke Spanish before it spoke English…

José Fermin Ceballos: And also the tuba came in the people. And also the accordion, the people like me as a musician, as a scientist and Cajun players, the accordion came from the Caribbean, so we have a lot of things, a lot of things Another conversation.

Pepper Roussel: Maybe, thank you.

Go ahead Ms. Lorinda.

Lorinda Sealey: I just wanted to say that in contrast to Marcela, who was struggling with being identified as Latina and not white, I was identified and still have, in many situations, identified as black, but how could you also be Latina? And again, that is a perspective. It depends on the knowledge and the history that people have been exposed to.

But It happened to me over and over when I would take my students to Earl K. Long. I don't know if anybody here remembers Earl K. Long. That was the charity hospital here at Baton Rouge. And at one point, a lot of the women delivering babies there, because that was my area were from Latin America.

And I was constantly called to interpret, which brings me to the issue of the fact that... They weren't providing interpreters. So whenever I showed up with my students, they would want me to be everywhere interpreting. But the question I would be asked by the nurses and the doctors but also the patients “Where did you learn Spanish?”

And that was always like a slap in the face for me. And it was over and over. In fact, once I even got it. “Where did you learn Mexican?” Oh, Lord. So again, that is just the difference between my experience and Marcela's because of the color of our skin. And by the way, on all the forms here, it wasn't until 2010, I want to say, that you had the option to choose white Hispanic or black Hispanic.You had to choose Hispanic. And you couldn't do both. Or your form got rejected.

My daughter was in the second grade at a school here in Baton Rouge and she came home telling us that the counselor was fussing with her. And she happens to be mixed race, so when I walked into the school the counselor said to me, we have to talk. And I said, “I know exactly what you want to talk about.” And I've told my child she needs to check whatever she thinks she is and whatever she feels she is. And if she wants to go black and white, that's what she is. And the counselor's response to me was “We have to fill out these forms. We have to turn in our numbers.” And I said “That is not my problem. That is not my doctor's problem.” Yeah.

Pepper Roussel: Marcella?

Marcela Hernandez: I was just gonna say something funny, when I was in school, I also used to have a lot of people saying you speak Colombian. And be like, “No, it's not Colombian, it's Spanish.” But this is one thing I want to also bring into the conversation.

Despite that we speak Spanish, that does not mean that our Spanish is exactly the same. We have a, we have different accents, we have different wordings. Spanish language is so broad and complex. And that is one thing that I really want you to understand. All of us, despite the word Hispanics or Latinos, we are not the same.

We are very much different. We speak a different language. We have different cultures. I don't eat tacos. I don't even know how to make an enchilada. I have no idea. Because I am Colombian. I don't eat tortillas. I eat arepas. Okay? Those are just some comments that people don't understand and they just make assumptions.

Because they don't know and it's okay not to know, but not to make assumptions. So we're very much different, we might look a little bit alike, which from my eyes, I don't think so, we're very much different, but, and then we also need to know, language is different. Spanish, Spanish is different.

The Spanish from Honduras is very much different than the Spanish from Colombia or the Spanish from Spain. Thank you. very much different. Venezuelans and Colombians were very much alike because we're neighbors. But generally speaking, we're very diverse. Very diverse people.

Lorinda Sealey: I just want to say that we are diverse in the words we use to name objects.

But the structure of the language is the same. And so I can understand you. I can understand Fermi. I can understand someone from Argentina if I tune into the accent. But the language is the same, but the words that we use to describe things may be different. Because I also get the question, “Oh, do you understand that lady from Mexico?”

Yeah, I understand her. I may not understand every word she uses to describe something. But, yeah, I understand her. The structure of the language is the same.

Marcela Hernandez: And even the words, you've got to be careful because if you're learning Spanish, for example, there are some particular words that are bad words for some countries that are not bad words for others.

And that is, that's another catch. For example, for Colombians... The word pendejo is nothing, it's just a word, it's like silly, you just say silly, que pendejo, it's like how silly, but you're going to say that word pendejo to a Mexican mother, to your Mexican mother, you'll lose your teeth, or to the Honduran or Salvadoran, so you gotta be, just be very careful and mindful as well.

Thank you Miss Lorinda.

Pepper Roussel: I was going to say, Marcela, I will argue, I will die on the hill arguing that you do speak Colombian and that's, I'm just, I'm putting it out there. You do. And I have been learning Colombian. So I say that with love.

If there are any questions that we want to make sure that we get to, please drop those in the chat. I haven't seen anything. And so as we, again, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, and we have shared a lot of things that, to be honest, I didn't know, right?

So when I entered this conversation. I genuinely thought Hispanic meant descendant of Spain and not Spanish speaking necessarily. Thank you for giving me food for thought. Oh, Camila.

Camila Valenzuela: Hey, good morning. How is everyone? I wanted to, if I could have a moment, add in a topic that I don't think anyone else has touched upon. My name is Camila Valenzuela. I am Cuban Mexican, first-generation Mexican, third generation Cuban born in America. And so I have a unique experience in that I had, I was assimilated.

I went to private school my whole life, and very early on, in first or second grade, my principal and teachers took me apart and told me, You're not like those other little Spanish girls. Don't beep like them. Don't talk to them. You're different. And so I went home and I told my parents, I don't want to talk Spanish anymore.

My parents respected that, and they were like, “Okay, she's going through something”, but as the years went on, and I was steadfast in my decision, they realized, even though Spanish was my first language, I was starting to forget Spanish, and that is a common experience of assimilation for Latinos born in America, especially Mexican Latinos, there are many Mexican Latinos you will find who don't know Spanish because of assimilation, and the school system that says, You need to conform.

You need to strip yourself of your identity. And that was a very painful experience for me. I had to spend a long time relearning Spanish. And to this day, I struggle. And though I have the benefit of being able to speak English fluently and being able to read and understand it, a part of my heritage and my inherent self was taken away because of assimilation.

And it's still a problem that happens to this day. So I just wanted to speak on that aspect as well that is still a big issue that happens in our schools across the country. But this has been a great talk. Thank you all for being here. So happy to see all of these Latinos of different ethnicities, countries coming together to talk about important issues that a lot of people don't know or realize, especially the Hispanic/Latino thing.

I can't tell you how often I've had to explain that to people and they just do not get it, especially because I don't look Latino. People often tell me, Oh, you're certainly not Mexican. Hate to tell you, I sure am, so thank you all for letting me have a little piece in this conversation I've been dying to jump in.

Pepper Roussel: Oh, thank you so much, Camila.

Lorinda Sealey: I just wanted to make a comment about the issue of the language being suppressed. So we raised our daughter trilingual. My ex-husband was German, is German. So when she was born, we spoke Spanish and German at home. And she would turn to him and say, Mommy said, and she would explain to him in German because she thought she was the only one in the house who understood all three languages.

But when we were in public or some of our friends in the community who knew us, they told us that we were doing the wrong thing. That we were confusing her, that she wouldn't know either language, and when would she learn English? And we just insisted. And today she speaks all three languages, not as well as she speaks English.

But, if she were immersed in either culture at any point. She just goes with the flow, and that language gets better. So yeah, it is still happening. There's a lot of resistance from the community. I guess they're afraid. I don't know what they're afraid of. But they don't want they think that, I don't know what they think.

But if you want to raise a child that's either, that's bilingual, it takes a lot of effort and a lot of consistency. Because you get... You get scolded. You get criticized that you're not, after all, this is the United States of America, and our daughter even told us that when she was about five, because when she was slipping to English to either of us, we would just say it wrong language.

And once we, we said that to her, she was about five and she said, my English is perfect. This is the United States of America. We just have to insist and insist. At one point it becomes very difficult because they want to be like their peers. And so then she would always respond in English. But she still has the capacity to speak all three of those languages today.

José Fermin Ceballos: Okay. The thing that I want to... See about the conversation is we have a huge drop on education here and I think I don't know about it because one of the thing that I'm doing the tournament, my festival and education things is because any of our countries from Caribbean or Latin America they don't create any space, In the United States through the embassy to create space for family, for children's to keep learning and about our history where we come from to keep learning about our arts and stuff like that.

And one thing that I see talking more about arts and music because it's my the, it's like my career, and I'm getting, I'm, I am involved in this. It's a, they deny it, deny your music, deny your roots, because another music, or another thing, is better than us. This is the problem that we have from the colonization, it's really bad When the parents and families, they then encourage the children to see, Hey, the merengue is our identity as a Dominican Republic. I say the cumbia from Colombia or San Jarocho from Mexico. This is as great as a rap or say something. Or I say cumbia chicha or whatever.

But, because that, because, when you see, when you hear the radio when you hear the most streaming on YouTube, and all of that, you see a type of music who got those streams. But that thing have a lot of money behind, a lot of strategy to be like, to have more views, more stuff.

But that doesn't mean. That music is better than the folk, for our country, or even for here in the United States. We have a problem with that, and we have to create space to tell people, to tell children, to tell whatever. The music and our history and our roots is as important as whatever you choose in the future.

And don't deny it. Don't see that music as something like minimized or don't see that culture minimizing the other and we have to work on that and, even in my country we are I want to talk a little bit about, I don't know how much time I have, but, I know,

Marcela Hernandez: Please, let me jump in there, I want to make sure, I know it's almost time, But I want to say something really important before it moves on, and I want to make sure that we take in consideration what Camila just mentioned.

I'm sorry, I'm interrupting you, my dear. But I want to say something before we move forward. What Camila shared today, that is exactly the reason why we celebrate the Hispanic Heritage Month. That is exactly, and I appreciate you having the courage and coming into the call. And sharing what you just shared because it impacted me as much as I know that impacted others.

Let me say this. The reason why we at LORI do what we do is exactly because of that, because we know that there are a structural, discriminatory initiative to shadow us as immigrants. And to stop having us to have the pride. And I understand that sometimes they use us as political weapons. To put us lower to what we are.

Now, but I want to say this. At the end of the day, we're not different than anyone else in this school. Because at the end of the day, we are human. And those who know me very well, there's many people on this call that have talked to me. They know that I always talk about the meaning of humanity.

And the importance of understanding that at the end of the day we are all humans. And we all deserve to be safe and happy. What Camila mentioned, she, this is not the only person that deals with that. We know that happens in our schools. We know that happens in the work environment. We know that happens everywhere.

And that is the reason, that is the main reason why we at Lori, we are, we push for that right. We are so proud to our roots. We're, that's the reason why we have more refugee and immigrant day every year. That's the reason why we have the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration every year. That's the reason why, when you walk into this office, all of the cultural displays are all around the office.

Because we're proud, but we're not only proud of that, but we also want to involve other people and educate them, and promote that among our community and our own families as well. Now, this is not easy. And not everybody has the courage of doing it because on the other side, you have entities that are trying to shadow you and are trying to silence you.

It is not easy for me to be in a call with 33 people that I know that speak perfect English and I have a very strong accent. But guess what? The reason why I'm doing it is because I have overcome that fear. I have overcome, and I'm not gonna be quiet anymore. And I'm going to share with you something very funny to end this conversation.

I was driving home yesterday with my five-year-old daughter, who's learning three languages. And she said, “Mommy, I was having a conversation with John,” whatever the name she said. And she said, “Can you say John?” And then I said, “John.” And then she said, “No, Mommy, it's not John. It's John.” I said, “John.” And she said “No, Mommy. You're not saying it right. It's John.” So we went back and forth and she really pissed me off. And I turn around, I say, okay, little girl, first of all, I'm not saying the word “Sean” anymore because it sounds to me the same way that you're saying. Secondly, you have no authority whatsoever to come and bully me.

You stop this, and you don't ever do it again. You respect me, and respect your grandmother, and respect everybody else around you. Because if I put you to pronounce something in Spanish, I bet you're not going to be able to do it. That was just a little thing I wanted to share with you. Because it happens, and that's a challenge that we face on a daily basis.

Okay, and that's something that I want all of you to have in mind. If someone approaches you, If someone goes to your office, looking for help, if someone is knocking at your door, seeking for help, take the time, just take the time, if you don't understand what they're saying, get Google Translator, find ways to help that person, no one is going to go and knock the doors of an organization if they're really not needing the help, and second thing.

Just go and support the initiatives that are already in place. That is the only way that we're going to overcome all of those stereotypes. That is the only way that we're going to have a welcoming city. That is the only way that we're going to have a city that embraces diversity of any kind. That's my, that's the last thing I wanted to say.

Thank you.

Pepper Roussel: Wait, was it in the chat somewhere? Something about spicy? What? Wait a minute. Anyway, thank you so much for being here. I'm sorry we've run a little bit long. Fermin before we switch to community or as we move into community announcements, can you play some of your music? Can you, or can we actually, I don't know if we can hear. Your guitar. We were trying to figure that out earlier.

José Fermin Ceballos: Lemme try again and see if you guys can listen to this. No, I can play something.

Pepper Roussel: Also for everybody else who's not playing an instrument in this moment. Perfect. So getting together community announcements. Yes, please.

Oh no! I think you're going to have to keep talking while you play. I don't know what's happening. Oh, we heard some of it. Thank you for me. Thank you, Ms. Lorinda. Thank you. In concert thank you, Marcella. And we will continue celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month next week. And oh, okay. And between now and then, what's going on in Baton Rouge, y'all? What's happening this weekend?

Rev. Alexis Anderson: First of all, this was so amazing. So super amazing. Let me just say that pepper. Every time I think you're going to take it to that level, just go to the next one. Just wanted to invite everyone and I put it in the chat. The East Baton Rouge Parish Prison Reform Coalition is having its open house.

We have been around for five years and it is a wonderful opportunity to come and enjoy fellowship with us and see how we are reimagining public safety. The second thing I put in the chat was that last night we had the privilege of having Professor Thomas Frampton. speak on what is going on in the crisis in our police department.

And it was an amazing and impactful and informative conversation. And I put the link to that in the chat. Anybody who lives in East Baton Rouge Parish, it is important to know where some of these things come from. So I encourage anybody to take an opportunity and review that.

Marcela Hernandez: Okay, so I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you. Thank you to everyone for coming and supporting the Hispanic Heritage Month event that we had last Saturday. It was amazing. I just really want to say thank you. Thank you for coming, showing up, bringing your tables. For those who did not come and bring your tables and just came and eat and have fun, thank you.

For those who brought, who sent the family members and other colleagues, I just want to say thank you. Because that's what it shows the real love and support and uniqueness of our city. I just wanted to take a minute and say thank you. Of course, for me.

José Fermin Ceballos: Yeah, I want to invite you invite you all as a at a festival on Sunday in Baton Rouge at the a Hispanic apostolate.

I forgot the Spanish. Hispanic. I'll be playing there with my entire band. I'll be playing some merengues, some cachapas, tupias, and salsa. Around 4 p.m. so if you guys have a time to come and share with us some love.

Pepper Roussel: Fantastic. Wonderful. Dauda, I saw your hand up a second ago.

Dauda Sesay: Yes, I just wanted to say kudos to all of you and thank you all and congratulations to Preach. Five years of creating a safer community, five years of uplifting the injustice we are seeing in the detention centers. Five years of standing strong and we are definitely glad to be in a community with all of you.

And to the staff of Lowy and our board chair and all of them, the wonderful guests here, I want to thank each and every one of you for uplifting the Hispanic Heritage Month. I know it's just, the Hispanic Heritage Month just go way beyond the culture, the traditions, and the racism, the injustice we've encountered.

I just wanted to put that again is, let's look beyond that and see again. The beauty of our roads that has been built. Majority of the people that are doing the hard work day in and day out is our immigrant family. When we have hurricanes, and then, when we have hurricanes, now, when it comes to rebuild, we are there.

And now we look at the school system. We are there. You look at America is like Miss Lorinda, just a retired nurse education.

We are there. We are contributing significantly into the social and economic fabric of our cities and states. And finally, the 85,000+ Hispanic that we already have in this country, in this state.

Guess what? We have our civic right and civic power to hold our leaders accountable as well. So let's work together, whether you're Spanish, you're black, you're gray, you're white. Let's work together so that we deepen our collective effort to fight against the structural racism and injustice that we are seeing.

So I want to thank each and every one of you for speaking truth to power. You are not afraid to speak what is in your mind. And Laurie invites you on. Let's begin this community conversation, how we can heal, how we can resist, and how we can reclaim our civil rights and dignity.

Lorinda Sealey: Thank you.

Pepper Roussel: Resist. I'm all about it.

Camila, I saw your hand up a second ago. Did you still want to say something?

Casey Phillips: Can we please have you become our governor of Louisiana? And take our, and bring our country forward? Man, you, wow. Marcella, both of y'all's words today, all of our speakers, powerful.

Powerful. I thank all of you for being here today.

Dauda Sesay: Thank you, really appreciate that you said that, thank you so much.

Marcela Hernandez: It's just about being a human being. It's just simple as that, Casey. We're in this world together. We only have one world. What are we doing? We're waking up every day to do what? To kill each other out. To be against each other. To go against other organizations. To go against other races. To go against other people. What is the reason? Is that the purpose of our lives as humans? I don't think so. And what is it to be women? What is it? After that, we go in and we go against each other, races, cultures, ethnicities.

What is it? What is being worn? This is just about being humans.

Lorinda Sealey: I guess moving forward when we, I would like to leave. I like to leave here with the thoughts that when you meet someone, don't put them in a box. Get to know them. And we need to learn about our history and celebrate our unique and different experiences.

But let's learn about each other. I think a lot of how we treat each other has to do with our ignorance. And the stereotypes that we have in our heads about who we are, and what we think, and how we feel. Let's leave here with the urge to learn more about each other.

Pepper Roussel: Thank you, Ms. Lorinda.

Agreed, Mariana. Alright, so two left. Camila, I saw your hand up a second ago. Did you, is Camila

Casey Phillips: Oh, yeah. Actually, perfect segue. If I would love to go right after Reverend Anderson being the voting advocate that she is.

Perfect. Perfect.

Rev. Alexis Anderson: And yes, far be it from me to ever let a conversation go by without bringing up voting.

But, as is my practice, I like to leave us on this very super high note. And if you did not watch the news this week, and I believe it was on Wednesday. Might have been Thursday. You would have seen the amazing Dauda Sesay at the airport being interviewed because of his amazing work and reunification and LORI’s work in the reunification of an Afghan family.

And it is the I can speak to so many times when I say it, the village takes care of the village. And oftentimes we assume they're all these super systems. They aren't. Day in and day out organizations like LORI take care of people that we don't even know exist. And so I wanted to share with everybody, it was one of the most amazing and heartfelt Things I've ever seen as a veteran.

It's both volumes because there are thousands of veterans in this country who've been fighting for those folks to be reunited and brought back in this country and done right. So I just wanted to lift that up as yet another amazing moment in our community where the really good stuff is just happening.

Casey Phillips: Yeah. Amen. So I thought about Reverend Anderson last week when I was in Birmingham at the Civil Rights Institute, and we were standing meet the side of the 16th Street Church where the bombing 60 years ago was a day before the anniversary. And I met this guy, Dale Long, who was 11 years old and was one of the little boys in the building that survived.

And his story was powerful and the entire experience that the American Heart Association actually curated was very powerful. But he said that every time that he walks, he's 71 now, he lives in Dallas, we actually ironically have worked with him before in our work in Dallas, I just never knew that it was this man's history.

And he said that every day. Since he was 18, when he walks out of the barbershop, the last thing that he said is, “Vote. Voting matters. Stop solving the world's problems, and get out and vote. “Yesterday, from stage yesterday, I ended my soliloquy with, Voting matters. And in this moment, I'd really like you to think about the potential candidates for president, for governor, and for the mayor's office, mayor's race next year.

And think about which one of those candidates would be investing into the work that LORI does. Which one of those candidates would be investing in, in actual developing and putting resources in the Scotlandville? And really think about if you don't like the way someone's personality is on camera, or maybe a couple of things that they've done in their past, You need to think about who that, if that person could actually get in the chair and make a difference in this world and get more people to show up to the polls to ensure that person is, those people are in the seat.

Voting and elected officials is not the only part of our democracy, but it's pretty dang important. I would like to make the motion that during the election season, When people want to come off mute to speak at One Rouge, that you announce where you vote. Your polling location. And I've heard about this technique back in the Civil Rights days to make sure that people are voting, so that if you stumble and you can't tell me that I vote at Dufrock if I can't say that means that you're not voting.

As I said I would I would just like to make a motion. I don't have to be right. This is a collective, but voting matters. Go out and vote. Rev, I believe we have something coming up, right?

Rev. Alexis Anderson: We have a lot coming up, but I will say as much as I love that idea Casey, I would be remiss if I did not remind you that because we are number one in mass incarceration in this state.

That we have a disproportionate amount of our population at this time that also cannot vote. And so I would put that out there. It is not that they would not vote. It is that their country at this point in their state has disenfranchised them.

Pepper Roussel: No, that's absolutely true. Reverend Anderson, that's absolutely true.

But I like the idea, Casey, because there are a lot of polling places that shift and move last minute. This happens absolutely every voting season, so it will give, I hope, folks a reason to double-check where they vote. So even if you can't say where you voted last time thank you, Ms. Lorenda to encourage folks to go and find where it is that they do vote, I think is valuable.

And if you can't vote, find somebody who can.

Casey Phillips: And, Pepper, I will say, It's worth lifting up. Anybody that's been disenfranchised does not need to feel marginalized in one route. What I'm trying to do is just figure out aggressive ways to actually get people off their ass and off the sofa and get involved in the elections that absolutely determine how your life goes and your communities go and if you're not worried about what's happening in your neighborhood, hear about all the people on this call that are fighting for the rights of people in neighborhoods across the city.

I'm sorry, Robin, I talked over you.

Robin: Oh, that's okay, Casey. I was just going to mention that for people who don't know their voting locations, I got a really simple solution, which is come hang out with me on September 30th, and you can either be at the Archives on Essence, or you can be downtown where they're going to throw a party.

Casey Phillips: This is only eastbound routes. I can't speak to everybody that's somewhere else. But that's where all the voting locations are. You know what I'm saying? You can always park at the Walls Project office. Reverend Anderson takes us up on the offer all the time. 458 America Street, two blocks from City Hall. You can show up and pull the lever anytime.

Tota. And there's a voting at… Tota? Say it, Verna. Yeah, Who Beans? Come on. Yeah, hey,

Verna: Casey, I'll take you on your offer for the votes because voting is very critical. That's why we are glowing. We are launching the Love Initiative, which is lift our voices for empowerment. Love. When you vote, you share love. You share love to the children that are going to school.

When you vote, you're spreading love for the world. When you vote,

Casey Phillips: When you vote, you share in love to eradicate structural racism. When you vote, you show love and patriotism for your country, your city, your state. Every ballot matters. That's why next month, that we are about to start, we are going to be launching our Love Initiative to make sure that every caller Which is a nonpartisan voters engagement.

We will be engaged with. We're gonna be having information in bilinguals so that every voice matters in this upcoming elections. So please, if there's any event going on, we definitely want pass that. We don't want reinvent the wave. We want engage where our community are going so that we spread law. When we talk about votes, let's attach it to law.

We spread love and that's why we come up with the lift for the L, our for the o v, our voices, E for empowerment, so lift our Voices for empowerment initiative starting October 1st. We'll be doing the thank you. That's what I just wanted to close with Marcella, I wanted to add something to what DAA said.

Marcela Hernandez: If you know anyone who wants to become a citizen, Please remember, we do the citizenship applications. We do the citizenship classes. We walk you through the entire process. You know anyone, the reason why this is so important is because those who become citizens are those who are out there voting. So if you know anyone who's interested, who might be thinking about it, who might be nervous of doing it, we are the ones doing it here.

So I just wanted to bring that advertise and so you know, and you also share it with everybody else. Fantastic.

Casey Phillips: Please email me if anybody on this call We received a grant from Unum Insurance. UNUM Insurance. They acquired Starmount Insurance on Goodwood and near Terra. Anyway, long story short, with their corporate responsibility funding, they funded our Equitable Pathways grant.

It's a quarterly grant that they assessed. And they funded our Futures Fund in the back and before. And I met with them yesterday and they want... My recommendations on some of the OneRouge organizations that are working. And I would like to make recommendations for $10,000 to $15,000 grants. If your organization is working in what they call equitable pathways, which I'll be happy to share that language with you all whenever they send it over to me.

Please just email me and I'm going to make a short list and then I'll make introductions if they would like that. But I know a lot of y'all are doing that good work and I want to spread that love around. Love. Love. Lift it up. All the way through entirely. Love that. Thank : you. Thank you for the space today.

Thank y'all.

Pepper Roussel: Question in the chat. What types of organizations, Casey? 1C3s.

Casey Phillips: I think mid-size. Preferred small to mid-size. Anybody that's working on things that, trainings, services that would lead people into a more equitable and diverse workforce. But. They use workforce as a real broad term, right?

Just like quality of life and education, workforce, everything like that. And I'll be also offering that up to some of the Education to Career Coalition members of OneRooch. So please, feel free just to reach out. You don't have to give me the whole spiel. You can just put your name, your organization, the URL, like one paragraph.

Take your time. You don't have to get it to me today. It could be, or any time next week, and I'd be happy to pass that forward.

Pepper Roussel: Fantastic. So send the emails to pepper@thewallsproject.org

Casey Phillips: I'm not even asking you to do fly air traffic control. You can just email me directly. Casey@thewallsproject.org

Pepper Roussel: There was this, there were a couple of questions that were in the chat and we are. super long today, so I don't want to keep folks any longer. Thank everybody so much for being here. I will say, man, you immigrants are chatty. Look at us after 10 o'clock. Thank you so much, seriously, for being here. I really super duper appreciate you sharing. Not just the differences, but the similarities, all of the things that are happening. Please make sure for any of you who have not worked with LORI, reach out to them. But as Marcella mentioned early on, having one organization doing all of the things is not it.

So expand your footprint and Please make sure that these conversations are happening, not just on Fridays with one Rouge, we like to have them. So we will see you back here next week. Same bat time, same bat channel. Have a great weekend.

Casey Phillips: Y'all just remember everyone, we're all immigrants to this planet.

And today, NASA's OSIRIS REx capsule is entering into the Utah desert where they believe they will find the sampling from the asteroid that we actually migrated to this planet on. And make sure and look at the NASA OSIRIS OSIRIS REx capsule news today. And if that is true, then we are all immigrants and everyone should shut up about the borders and work together because we humans.

Alright. I don't know. Dive!

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