Mexican Americans

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Series of interviews with Kansas City, Kansas residents of Mexican descent about the aftermath of the 1951 Flood. Topics discussed include the impact on the community as many residents moved away permanently from the KCK neighborhoods, the loss of local employers, rebuilding homes and businesses, assistance from governmental and community resources, and how community members stayed in touch afterwards, including the 1951 Flood reunion committee. Irene Gonzalez shares the story of meeting her husband, musician Lupe Gonzalez, at her quinceañera, and John Mendez discusses furthering his education and his involvement in Wyandotte County politics and development.

Video Recording

Interview with UMKC chemistry professor Dr. Antonio Sandoval about his life. Born in 1931, he recalls his early childhood on a New Mexico ranch in a Mexican American community, moving to Colorado to be able to attend high school, doing agricultural work, and notes that of his graduating class of 100, he was the only one to go on to earn a PhD. He discusses his mother's hope that he would become a priest but instead majoring in chemistry, enlisting in the army where he worked to support nuclear testing at locations including Los Alamos, going on to earn his PhD from Kansas State University where he almost met his microbiologist wife, and coming to Kansas City where he was on faculty at UMKC and his wife taught at Avila, Rockhurst, and Donnelly colleges. He also discusses his participation in United Mexican American Students (UMAS) and working with his wife in the Catholic church's Marriage Encounter program.

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Audio Recording

Interview with former Missouri state representative Paul Rojas about his experience with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City. He recalls the need of Hispanic businesses to be able to access bank loans, insurance, and opportunities for state contracts, and that the local chamber led to the formation of a United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce a few years later. He discusses the chamber's role in increasing Hispanic visibility in local governance, their growing political astuteness and advocacy, and linking the business community and social services.

Video Recording

Interview with Tom Curigan about his life and his experience with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City. He discusses his early life and education, becoming involved with the chamber in the early 2000s, and joining the board around 2005, and notes the chamber's work in entrepreneurship and economic development and the ways that it has benefited him personally and professionally.

Video Recording

Interview with Rafael Garcia about his life and experience with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. He discusses navigating racism and discrimination as a young person, the historical exclusion of Hispanic businesspeople from the traditional chambers of commerce, his experience of the early days of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the differences between it and the Kansas City chamber. He also shares memories of Hector Barreto giving him encouragement, introductions, and coaching in how to engage with the business and civic community, leading to an opportunity with Hallmark. He was later invited by board president Estella Morales to join the chamber's board, and shares additional thoughts about the role of the chamber in the community.

Video Recording

Interview with Anna Barreto Favrow, joined by her mother Mary Barreto, about her father Hector Barreto Sr., founder of the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City and United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She discusses her father's opinions on the importance of education, political power, and economic power, his relationship with his family, and chamber leadership that came after him.

Video Recording

Interview with Argentine resident Roberto Marin about his life, work, and family. Marin recalls family members immigrating from Mexico to Kansas City, Kansas, to escape the Mexican Revolution, the Mexican "El Campo" area adjacent to the Santa Fe railroad facilities in Kansas City, working in hardware stores, his move to the United States in 1955, and working as a bus boy at the Muehlebach Hotel upon his arrival in Kansas City. He discusses working for the railroad and Swift packing house, working in and owning restaurants for 33 years, and the people, events, and organizations he was involved in that preserved and celebrated Mexican culture in the Kansas City area. He also shares stories about other Mexican immigrants to Kansas City, attending the inauguration of Mexican President Portillo and other ongoing involvement in Mexican politics, and about the sister cities program.

Video Recording

Interview with Valerie Coyazo about her experience with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City. She discusses joining the chamber while working at AT&T, and joining the board and later being elected chairperson while working for Aquila. She discusses the origins of KC BizFest, the youth entrepreneurship program Latinos of Tomorrow, and other organizations and events aimed at job placement and advancement for young Latinos.

Video Recording

Interview with CiCi Rojas about her experience with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City as well as the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She recalls getting involved with the local chamber while on the board of El Centro and becoming a board member in the 1990s. She discusses the role the chamber played in giving the Hispanic business community a collective voice, her time as vice president of the United States, Dallas, and Kansas City Hispanic chambers, and discusses programs including KC Biz Fest, Hispanic Collaborative, and Fiesta in the Heartland.

Video Recording

Series of interviews with Kansas City, Kansas residents of Mexican descent about their family backgrounds and early history in the area. Topics discussed include life in Mexico, immigration, the Mexican Revolution, working beet harvests and at meatpacking and railroad jobs in the United States, and life in the Kansas City area, including food, housing, and family life.

Video Recording