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Additional resources for Immigrant Students and Literacy: Reading, Writing, and Remembering
That’s why I want to go to college,” he once told me. There are still Filipinos/as working in canneries and fishing boats, in the fields, sweatshops, and factories and in minimum-wage service jobs. Many of my students were growing up in a context of poverty or near poverty, with class segregation, nativism, and occasionally violence impinging on their movements within and outside the neighborhood. Yet despite these constraints, the children adapted, drawing from transcultural resources—with love, with care—to restore history, language, and culture, reassembled fragments, like those of Walcott’s vase, described at the beginning of this chapter.
They also suggest how the students’ own family backgrounds can enrich curricular possibilities. ON THE DELANO STRIKE Marcos: You want the story? Right there [pointing to literature by the Filipino American Historical Society]. This guy I was telling you about, my cousin, he was into history too. We had strike in the morning and in the afternoon. This was roughly in the mid-60s with the Mexicans. Well, the strike started in Delano. For some reason there weren’t as many Filipinos. There were more Spanish people because we were close to the border.
While Celso did not have the financial resources to partake in many aspects of consumer life, marketed to young people, he inventively drew on a range of resources to shape his own forms of youth cultural expression. For example, he began teaching himself musical instruments and with peers formed a spoken-word trio that incorporated saxophone and congas. In the classroom, Celso produced some of his most powerful writing when he had the opportunity to articulate his own life experiences. In one example, as part of an inquiry into home and community, I invited the students to bring artifacts that represented their families.