In this interview, research assistants Itzel and Olivia interview each other about their experience doing outreach for community driven research and accidentally meeting author Sandra Cisneros!
This interview has been shortened and edited.
Itzel: So today we met with a potential participant in our project from Coe College, but I feel like our day really got started when we went out to start meeting people. We went to one organization then went to the Native/Latino Cultural Center to drop off our information. Folks asked if we were there for the event and then Sandra Cisneros was right behind us. Then everybody sat down, and everybody introduced themselves. They were all doing amazing work, so it was really cool to feel like a part of that.
Olivia: So, what was the best part of Tuesday?
Itzel: Well, seeing Sandra Cisneros for sure. That was really good. But also getting in contact with people and being in a space where we were welcomed to be there, and having a shared thing that made us all a lot more receptive to each other and a lot more trusting of each other. That was really cool. So I think that was my favorite part of the whole day, that we got a lot of people but that there was a shared experience.
Olivia: My favorite was the shared experience part too, it felt like really comfortable and getting to talk to people about the project so that more people are interested was great. I also love being around different cultures all the time. We were kind of culture hopping.Then, after visiting all the organizations we met with Connie and got Mexican food and had a really good debrief.
Olivia: What did you learn about research and how do you think this will inform our study?
Itzel: I learned that shared cultural experiences built trust like it makes a really solid basis for trust. This affects the way we do research because having a shared cultural experience with someone makes you know what questions to ask but also makes them know what answers they can give. Because if a white person asks me about my experience, I’m more likely to summarize it in ways that don’t share the whole thing. Whereas if someone from my culture asks me about the issues that my community faces I’m a lot more likely to be honest because this person also understands.
Olivia: I think it can also inform our study because we kind of have to be receptive to knowing that things are gonna happen the way they’re gonna happen. We’re going to talk to the people that we need to talk to, and if someone can’t talk to us then we’re going to talk with someone else. Because people want to share their stories and show their work and having the kind of spiritual experience that we had shows that. Because we were there at the right time while we were working for a reason. We could’ve gone anywhere on that list but we chose there, at that time, on that date. So that’s important. The way that we feel comforted being around other people of color, that’s what community is, that’s what community means. So that’s kind of sacred and really important to have a community that cares for you and fights for you. That’s why our study is important to talk about what is happening in our communities, to get people to that place where we can be neighbors and look out for each other. That’s really important to changing the world.