Kim Davis

Getting back to the roots

Kim Davis, Fiesta Spokane Planning Committee, No Phone Number Available

Friday, September 12, 2014 at 2:48 p.m.

Getting back to the roots

What is it about growing older that makes us want to get back to our roots? The older I get, the more compelled I feel to connect with my heritage. This is one of the reasons that I got involved in the planning of the City of Spokane's Fiesta Spokane. Along with my colleagues in the community, we have planned some really special events for Hispanic Heritage Month which bring the many faces of Hispanic culture to the forefront in Spokane. Being around others who can share in the beauty and shed light on our culture has been an amazing experience.

I am passionate about connecting to my Mexican heritage and understanding the journey and challenges my family faced to give me the opportunities I have today. My grandmother, Maria, was born in 1932 in a town called San Miguel el Alto in Jalisco, Mexico. My grandmother was married at the age of 15 to a Mexican-American young man, and after several years of pending paperwork, she, my aunt and my mother immigrated to the United States to join him. They arrived in Southern California in 1952 and what transpired is a story of perseverance and determination as my grandmother and her family faced hardship and poverty in their quest to make a life in this country.

I have been collecting stories about my grandmother's life for years, documenting every story she told, transcribing interviews I did with her before her death in 2006. Most recently, I travelled back to California to interview family members and friends to discover additional stories and find out the impact my grandmother made on the people around her. This interest has led me to document my grandmother's personal history and make that journey the focus of my research project for the Masters of Science in Communication Studies at Eastern Washington University.

Recently, as part of the Fiesta Spokane Latino Film Series, I attended a free screening of the movie, Like Water for Chocolate. This is a favorite book of mine by Laura Esquivel in that it combines fantastical storytelling with some of the major themes of Mexican culture, such as food, passion, and family loyalty. Watching it now, in the midst of my research, I was touched by many parallels to my grandmother's stories. In particular, the last scene of Like Water for Chocolate moved me to tears. The final scene of the movie pans two generations into the future. A female descendant of the main character is reading the book of stories and recipes that was left behind by her ancestors. As the descendant reads the book, she realizes her legacy and strongly feels the presence and influence of the past in herself. What can I say is, it resonated with me on the importance of my project.

Each of the events I have attended has brought me closer to understanding my grandmother. Please join us for our Fiesta Spokane events and learn about the beautiful cultures that surround us right here in our own city of Spokane.

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