History of Latinos in Omaha

A few months ago I had to write a story for the Creightonian about an exhibition at El Museo Latino. The story was about three generations of women photographers from Latin America (super cool, check it out here). However, there was another exhibition that also caught my eye. This exhibition was about the history of Latinos in Omaha. The exhibition was composed of portraits of some Latinos and a short “story” of their lives here, or how they got here. This exhibition made me think a lot on the history of the people that come to the United States for a “better life.” Sometimes we do not think about how hard it is for someone to leave their home country because the economy is so bad there that they have to leave their families behind for a better future.

IMG_1110So, as the Journalist that I am, I went to South Omaha with my film camera to take some pics! As I was walking around I saw this kid with his grandmother, and he just looked at me and I just had to take his picture. While I was taking his picture I got to talk to his grandmother. She came to the United States when she was young with her parents for “the American dream” and has been here ever since. She said that her family came because they have heard that a lot of Latinos were coming to the US. Even though she has a better life than she could have ever had back in Mexico, she says that she misses her family a lot, but that it is really hard to visit them.

She also talked about how she is here legally but some people still treat her like she is not. It is sad and shocking that just because of how we look people think the worst in us. Truth is, a lot of the time being a Latino in the US is really hard because of the discrimination that we get. People should not judge just because they do not know the reason that someone is doing something. I cannot help but think how will that kid grow up; will he get discriminated because of his roots? will people belittle him? will he not get a job because he looks like his family came illegally to the US?

I have the opportunity to be here legally and I can travel back home whenever I want to, so I never had to think things like “oh, I cannot go back home because it will be hard to get back in.” Some people do not have the same opportunity and when they want something better for their family they are frowned upon because they are not from that other country. I mean, I know some people come here, and go to other countries illegally, but those of us that are lucky enough to come here legally do not know why they choose to come illegally. I can’t help but wonder.

Talking to that lady reminded me a lot of our immigration discussion, in particular to our discussion on Borders & Immigration. For that discussion, I listened to the song “Jaula de Oro” by Los Tigres del Norte. This song compares living in the United States missing family members as living in a golden cage. When people talk about coming to the USA is because they want their family to have a better future, however, this comes with a lot of disadvantages, like not speaking the language, working all day, and not being able to go back to their home countries. “De que me sirve el dinero, si estoy como prisionero dentro de esta gran prisión.”

We talked a lot about immigration in class, and in Latin America, everyone talks about living in the United States because of the opportunities. I am glad that I got to see that exhibition because it made me think about others, and how it is not easy for everyone to live here. It is hard to leave a home country in search of something better, and it is even harder when someone does so without their family.


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