Imagine a young child, taken from her home country and arriving in America with hopes and dreams of a new life. Although her parents are separated and she deeply misses her father and his family, the dream of a home and a new family is overwhelmingly attractive yet frightening to her. The life she left was very poor and very unsafe. She goes to a new school and is taught in a language that she does not understand. She begins to get poor grades, which she has never done before: she was always the teacher’s pet! She misses the singing and dancing that was always part of the learning in school in her home country. On top of all of that, the other children are mean to her and bully her. “Go back to Mexico where you came from,” except she is from the island of Puerto Rico. They taunt her for her hair and the color of her skin, a rich legacy from her indigenous, Spaniard, and African roots. Although her teacher speaks Spanish, he tells her, “Maribel, I cannot teach you in Spanish, because she is in America now! Welcome to the “Land of Opportunity,” you too can achieve the “American Dream.” This is the beginning of Maribel’s story.
Excerpt from the collaborative research by Joan Richards and Maribel Lopez’s (aka roomies) “Critical Engagement Project,” May 2015.
Dr. Lopez earned an Ed. D., from National Louis University in Chicago. Doctoral studies; Latinas in Higher Education; in collaboration, designed a performance to show the findings of the research in a theatrical format. She received her Master’s degree in Social work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Concentration in Children and Families. She has experience working with children, families, individuals, couples, and youth counseling. Dr. Lopez is engaged in community education on varies topics such as, program management, women empowerment, early childhood education, substance abuse, and domestic violence etc. In 1998 she co-founded the Latina Child Care Providers In Action, LCCPIA, a non-profit organization whose mission is to foster economic development in the Latina community. Published books: Dr. Lopez quote of the week book (available also in Spanish on amazon) Proceeds go towards the scholarship fund. & Eternally Grateful Journal.