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GINI Initiative

GINI - Complex Journey Questions and Responses

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After walking through the Complex Journey, what are your thoughts about what immigrant experiences might be like?
How does your own experience relate to the experience immigrants have coming here?
How can our community be more inclusive of our immigrant neighbors?
How long have you lived in Gainesville?
Do you feel you belong in the community?

  • I was born here in the US and know my ancestors were slaves. There is so much about my history that I don’t know, but this piece reminds me that all of our journeys are unique and varied with stories of pain mixed with stories of triumph.
  • An immigrant's journey is filled with many obstacles when transitioning to living in a new country. Although I was born here in the United States, I saw the difficulties my parents and family faced. The most difficult being overcoming the language barrier. Also blending our Cuban culture with American culture took some time adapting. I believe the community should do outreach projects and events to help immigrants while establishing in the United States. Events such as these help immigrants feel more supported and helps them establish a support system by interacting with others facing a similar journey. I believe there should always be initiatives in place to assist and facilitate the transition into the US for all immigrants. Immigrants should always feel welcomed and feel like they have a voice and given their best chance at creating a home and sharing their diversity with others.
  • I felt that there was no one right path, many different ways to go. There were a lot of times when I thought I was going to knock something over. There was a maze that I had to navigate, and one turn could be a dead end. It was something I had to think about, which way I wanted to go. I have lived in Gainesville my entire life, 11 years. So I wouldn’t really know the experience of being an immigrant. My mom does work with immigrants a lot and it amazes me how much they have to go through to get to a safe, comfortable place. I think our community could definitely have more resources, like community id drives which is what my mom does.
  • 1. I could really see how complex, intertwined, and fragile the journey can be. It also seems that everyone has their own perspective and can impose in some other ways
    2. Moving to Gainesville, although not far from my hometown was shocking. It is hard not to think about what used to be. My parents are immigrants who came to America, and they often shared their feelings and fears with me.
    3. Take time to listen before you share!!
    4. 3 years
    5. I am now starting to feel like I belong in the Gainesville community. Before I felt limited to the UF community.
  • 1. Strenuous, complex, trying, unpredictable
    2. Even though I wouldn’t dream of trying to relate my experience, I can empathize with feelings of being out of place
    3. More events like these!!
    4. I’ve lived here for 6 years
    5. My feelings of belongingness differ based on what community I’m in
  • 1. I belong to a family of migrants from Venezuela. I believe that the process of uprooting yourself into a new land is rough and should always be considered first.
    2. Moving to a new country is never as simple as the news makes it sound
    3. I don’t have many memories of that move with my family, but I do remember the struggle of being understood at school. I believe that a lot of immigrants would experience that struggle to communicate their stories.
    4. If electives like the arts, or social studies like history and philosophy were better supported it would help our youth be more open-minded to the experiences of all people from everywhere
    5. I just visit my girlfriend so I wouldn’t say i belong in Gainesville, but I do feel welcomed when I visit.
  • 1. Always wondering… should I have stayed where I was… could I have made that place a better home?
    2. 1st “BIG” move - Michigan to Alabama (no international yet) was a culture shock - from personal space to personal info, behaviors were very different - AND different DIFFERENCES were noticed and professed DIFFERENTLY - different, different, different
    3. By learning voluntarily what migrators are forced to learn - variety and difference are GIFTS to humanity
    4. In Gainesville since June, 1987. Before that Huntsville, AL (5 years). Before that Detroit for 26 years
    5. Feel I belong so long as myself and allies keep KICKING doors open!!
  • The experience of immigrants is complex. I am the child of an immigrant who still, after almost 50 years here, is adjusting. I have been an immigrant and it is a challenge. I returned to Gainesville because this is where I feel like I belong in the community. I grew up here but have been away for 15 years and still feel like this is my community. Welcoming immigrants means acknowledging and embracing our differences. Efforts to accommodate language differences is a good start.
  • The never ending negotiation of steps stood out most. No matter where you go there are always decisions to make.
  • I have lived in Gainesville for 27 years. I have felt a sense of belonging - until… Charlottesville when I learned that one of the central instigators was from Gainesville - my blinders came off
  • The immigrant experience seems like a walking landmine. There are countless obstacles and many ways to walk the path. For example, moving to the US to be an artist is an unconventional path that has its own challenges, but if one treads carefully they can make it through the exhibit, and life, successfully
  • Even though I was born in the US, both my parents are immigrants, and I know of the struggles on goes through coming to the US. My experience relates to immigrants coming here, because as a person of color, I’ve often felt disregarded and left out of the conversation. Our community can be more inclusive of immigrants by respecting their opinions and trying to understand and celebrate cultural differences. I’ve lived in Gainesville for 4 years and I sometimes feel like a part of our community, but more often than not, I don’t.
  • Immigrant experience is a maze. My mother was an immigrant was widowed when I was a child. I had to do the 15 years in GNV
    Most the time I have lived in 6 states as a dual citizen
  • One must walk carefully, not stepping on others as you do.
    My own living in Nigeria and visiting Sierra Leone and the welcome I received there makes me aware of the injustices many immigrants to my country receive
    We should be more welcoming and inviting.
    I’ve lived in Gainesville since 1978 and feel I belong to various parts of the community
  • Community can be more inclusive by hosting more events like this.
    Events w/ panels, food, discussions, etc.
    In GNV for 21 years
  • Walking through I felt a rush of sadness thinking of how careful immigrants must be while navigating a new space. But, I also felt the movement, the energy of having a final destination and staying steady on the course even if you are vulnerable. And with that steadiness is strength and power.
  • A Complex Journey is a thoughtful and inspiring piece of art, although I’m sure iti s nowhere near as difficult as many experiences. I love how it gives a glimpse of scale. The clay pieces appear so small and the distance so large. A metaphor for both the physical, emotional, and mental hurtles faced by an overwhelming number of people.
  • Walking through the exhibit I’m reminded of the journeys of my grandparents. I think everyone should imagine themselves in the shoes of immigrants. As someone who has dealt with learning disabilities, I know there are so many barriers in our society. For immigrants it can be tenfold. I have just moved here recently but it’s interesting how diverse the community is here in a small town.

How does your own experience relate to the Complex Journey?
How long have you lived in Gainesville? Do you feel included in the community?
Please tell us about your experience living here as an immigrant.

  • Mi viaje como inmigrante ha sido como un hilo o mecate largo… en el que he sido sostenido por mi cultura y mi relación constante con los que aún permanecen en mi país de origen. También debo dar crédito a la generosidad de muchos que he conocido en este viaje… a veces emocionante, a veces decepcionante. He aprendido que si nuestro mundo ha de sobrevivir, tendremos todos que practicar el respeto, reconocer la dignidad intrínseca de cada humano y amar la naturaleza que nos sustenta. Gracias a los que luchan por un mundo mejor.
    • ○ My journey as an immigrant has been like a long thread or rope… in which I have been sustained by my culture and my constant relationship with those who still remain in my country of origin. I also have to credit the generosity of so many that I have met on this journey… sometimes emotionally, sometimes disappointing. I have learned that if our world is to survive, we have to practice respect, recognize the inherent dignity of every person and love the nature that sustains us. Thank you to everyone who fights for a better world.
  • The complex journey resonated with my own journey immigrating to the US from Colombia. Much like how I needed to tread carefully through the many obstacles, I have had many impediments in my life. These often took the form of financial insecurity, navigating new systems, and standing out in the room. I feel as though my community has been open, but reluctant, to find equity for minorities in health, education, and politics. Most days I have to make room for Hispanics at the table by being an advocate, a voice, for many.
  • Being an immigrant comes with the feeling of in-between and often times I carry a sense of sadness and loneliness knowing I can’t be where I truly call home. I have been in Gainesville for three years and I think the community can become more inclusive by having more immigrant-focused events and resources.
  • 1. The exhibit brought uncertainty and anticipation. These feelings are familiar to me as an immigrant. It also made me reflect on my life since coming to the US, and that filled me with gratitude and humility.
    2. Given I have been in the US for over 10 years, the uncertainty and anxiety were not as new ?? So, I would say my feelings were similar, but less intense
    3. I guess… being more mindful about the assumptions and our world values and working towards not imposing those values on others will go a long way
    4. I’ve lived in Gainesville on and off for over 4 years
    5. Not yet. Belonging takes time. But I aspire to belong to this community some day 🙂
  • Cuando caminé en el evento de arte, vi a differente gente en forma de muñecos. Me hace reflexionar a todos los inmigrantes que han venido a los Estados Unidos. Me recuerdo de mis abuelos, tías, amigos de diferente nacionalidades que se han unidos por libertad
    • ○ When I walked through the exhibit, I saw different people in the form of the figurines. It made me reflect on all the immigrants that have come to the US. I remember my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends from different countries who have come for freedom
  • I’ve lived in Gainesville for 4 years. I’m a student here at UF. As a child of an immigrant, I feel like I’m familiar with the challenge of assimilation to a new country. This piece reminded me of the importance of community and how we must work together to become a welcome space that we all belong in.
  • He vivido en Gainesville por dos años cuando llegué. No me gustaba. No me gustaba que no es caminable, no me gustaba el clima. Ahora, cuando salgo de viaje y regreso a Gainesville, siento que vuelvo a casa. Siento que pertenezco a esta comunidad. Mis amigos, mi estudio, mi trabajo están acá y los voy a extrañar cuando en unos meses vuelva a mi país natal, Colombia.
    • ○ I have lived in Gainesville for two years. I did not like it. I did not like that it isn’t walkable, I didn’t like the climate. Now, when I leave and return to Gainesville, I feel like I am returning home. I feel like I am part of the community. My friends, my studies, my work are here and I will miss it when I return to my home country, Colombia, in a few months.
  • Immigrant experiences are over delicate journeys. As an immigrant myself, I was particularly conscious about trying not to hurt or step over the clay figures as they traveled. I hope our communities can be the same and maybe even uplift and save each other. I have lived in Gainesville for 5 years and mostly feel I belong
  • 1. Se relaciona con mi experiencia en la adaptación a nueva cultura - múltiples costumbres.
    2. Nacida y criada en Puerto Rico.
    3. Resido en Gainesville desde 2003
    4. Pertenezco a la comunidad en mi trabajo como enfermera/trabajo visitario a la comunidad en diferentes campos.
    • 1. I related to my own experience adapting to a new culture and customs
      2. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico
      3. I’ve lived in Gainesville since 2003
      4. I feel part of the community through my job as a nurse/my work visiting different communities
  • 1. Experiences vary greatly based on personal circumstances, but the immigration process is a maze no matter what
    2. As an immigrant, the maze here closely represents what I went through
    3. Have inclusive events like this one.
    4. Been in Gainesville for 2 months
    5. I feel like I am a part of the UF community, not so much the Alachua community