“Immigration is not something new in this country,” Mendoza said. “It is part of a historic pattern—where we see tension.” And within that tension Mendoza has seen “how immigrant families often forge strong intercultural community relationships at work and in their personal lives.” Forging these intercultural relationships is vital for everyone in order to have a more personal and real understanding of this situation.
“Following the heated spring and summer of 2006 with all these marches around the country, I was very proud of the Latino communities everywhere. We had a 40,000 plus rally in St. Paul that was very impressive and I wondered what to do with all of this."
"What was missing to me in the academic context, in the social context, are the voices of the people themselves. I didn’t want to study just this one community. I didn’t have a framework to just study one community. As a literary scholar I love stories. I’ve had a long appreciation of oral histories."
"You have to pay more attention to the content rather than the form sometimes to get to an intimate side of someone and know who they are. I wanted to collect stories, not just a common interview. I wanted to engage with people. I didn’t want to make mass generalizations of people as a whole."
"And this topic of immigration—well, I can hardly see the difference between 2007 [when he began his bike ride] and now . . . all of these issues are still very relevant.”
(Interview from Thursday, March 29).
Currently in Nebraska (in the Kearney area--about 130 miles west of Lincoln), about 450,000 Sandhill Cranes continue to feed on the waste grain in the cornfields next to or very near the Platte River. They’ve been here since February feeding to gain weight for the long flight to Alaska where they will nest. By mid-April, most will check for favorable winds and leave, flying north to Alaska to nest, and then in the fall, they will return south as far as Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico.