Atlernativas, or alternatives in English, is what StoryCorps frequently provides for many of its tens-of-thousands of participants. Since its founding, StoryCorps has provided an opportunity to have voices heard that might otherwise be missed.
On Saturday, January 8, StoryCorps Atlanta spent the day with the Alterna Community in LaGrange, GA, (just 70 miles southwest of Atlanta) to record the stories of Mexican immigrants and their families. Many of the individuals who came to share their stories spoke of facing incredible personal odds and overcoming family crisis for the opportunity to work and create family in the United States.
Participant Arturo Martinez (above left) spoke passionately with his friend and Alterna Community founder Anton Flores (above right) about the difficulties his wife had with one of her pregnancies after recently arriving in the United States. He talked about the deep friendship he developed with Anton and his wife, and about how he wouldn’t have been able to endure his wife’s illness had it not been for Anton, the Alterna Community, and his church. Fortunately, he said, his wife is doing much better now.
Equally poignant was a conversation between a mother and her sixteen year-old son, Liliam and Ender Hidalgo (pictured above). The son, more mature than his young years might lead one to believe, shares in many of the family’s most intimate conversations and details. He worries about an aunt’s personal problems and his sister’s ongoing life challenges. He and his mom openly discuss family difficulties and the hopes they both have for the family in the future – including his desires to one day be an engineer.
While the day was full of stories of hardship and struggle, particularly regarding the journey many of them faced to have a stake in the American Dream, the threads that wove all these stories together were those that illustrated the endurance of family and community, love and joy, and the determination of the human spirit.