Part of our responsibility as participants of the Tamejavi Cultural Organizing Fellowship Program is to develop a community assessment that is divided into nine different categories. The coordinating group developed questions related to the program and each of us responded to the questions based on our knowledge gathered from the first phase of the program- applied our learnings from the concepts of cultural organizing and popular education while conducting our community assessment with our communities.
Not only this community assessment assignment helped me to reflect on my experience as a cultural organizer but it also enabled me to understand precisely the political, cultural and social environment in which my community is going through as new immigrants in the California Central Valley.
Who We Are: The Zapoteco Mexican Indigenous immigrants are amongst the recent immigrants arriving in the San Joaquin Valley.
Strategy of Information Gathering: Consultation was conducted with elders to gather information about Fandango.
Cultural Protocols Challenges: The best way to start a conversation in my community is to talk about what we know about fiestas, foods and artwork.
Documentation: Document our meeting experiences/notes to a journal.
Findings: People are very interested to learn about Popular Education practices; indeed some apply the concept with their experiences.
Issues of Concerns: Immigration is the number one issue that most people are concern about.
Lessons Learned: Participants of the Zapoteco Fandango Project agrees that art and cultural can be use to increase civic participation with the broader community.
Community Leadership: In the eyes of Popular Education we believe that all people possess some leadership skills. Indeed, we call those elder women who we consulted about Fandango our leaders.
Change: The goal of the Zapoteco Fandango Project is to apply the principles of cultural organizing and popular education to create communal theatrical of the traditional Zapoteco Fandango.