We have gone back to using our original name — Nuestras Raíces — to celebrate and focus on teaching Latino-Rhode Islanders about their immigrant roots.

We have been to Woonsocket, Pawtucket and Central Falls, where we worked with recent ELL immigrant youth. Bilingual workshops and story collecting taught students about their local communities and neighborhoods, and helped them find a sense of place in their new homes.

Do you have a story to tell? We want to hear from you. Go here, fill out a preliminary form, submit and we will follow up.

Some of the previously collected stories have been posted online, on the website of Nuestras Raíces.
To read them, go here

Our Travels in 2016

➤ January • Pace Senior Center • Providence, RI

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Josefina “Fefa” Rosario chuckles as she finds her portrait on one of the cans of our traveling arts installation.
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Doña Fefa and Marta V. Martínez reunite after several years, since Fefa moved from her home in Warwick.
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A long conversation, with lots to catch up on!
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Fefa reacts as her photo pops up on the screen during the screening of a video created by students about history of Latinos in RI

➤ April 6, 2016 • Woonsocket. High School

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Andrés Rodríguez and Lucy Boltz invited us to speak with ELL students at Woonsocket High School as part of their ELO coursework. Students learned about the history of Latinos through the Nuestras Raíces story board. Plans are underway for a summer video project with Riverzedge Arts to document and create fotohistorias.

➤ March - May 2016: Central Falls High School

Posted May 15, 2016
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The ELO class of Central Falls High School (CFHS) invited RILA's Executive Director to speak with their ELL students at as part of their ELO coursework.
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These students recently moved to Rhode Island from Guatemala, El Salvador and Colombia. Just as in Woonsocket, the ELO students in Central Falls learned oral histories techniques to interview a family member or teacher. Nuestras Raíces serves as a starting point for them to learn about the history of Central Falls as a way for them to connect and identify with their new home.

The cart will be traveling to the Adams Public Library in Central Falls on May 14, 2016 and will be on display well into June. The CFHS students will host a reception where they will present their oral history projects to their teachers and peers.

➤ April 30 - May 15, 2016: Pawtucket Public Library

Posted May 15, 2016
What do these people all have in common? They all are seeking a new life in America.

Adult Education-ESL students come from all over the world, including the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Cape Verde, Ghana, Liberia, Russia, study English and ready themselves to become U.S. Citizens.
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ESL students stop to enjoy a cup of café con leche before sharing a story with us.

➤ Adams Public Library | Central Falls

May 15-August 31, 2016
The cart at the Adams Public (Central Falls) Library is located in the periodical section and faces a plaque erected in memory of the library’s founder.
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Diana Ferguson, the Children’s Librarian and a patron who immigrated to Central Falls from Colombia, look over some of the scenes that depict the history of Central Falls.

The Providence Children's Museum • Providence, RI

Posted October 6, 2018
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When you're at a children's museum, everything is down below -ie, at eye level for the children. And to make it safe for little hands, museum staff covered the sides so no one could crawl inside.
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Kristin Read, Director of Education, helps little ones explain the art and words they put on the piece of paper that will go on each can.
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Vivian's Story (photo right) — Vivian and Mom (right) are ready to add the can to the installation.
While you're at the Providence Children's Museum, don't forget to stop by to see the Fefa's Market exhibit, which RILA's Executive Director helped create!
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We are happy to announce that Nuestras Raíces | Café Recuerdos will begin traveling again! From October 6-20, 2018 was at the Providence Children’s Museum. Family activities led by museum staff will encourage young people to create a coffee-can wall.

The cart now also has a permanent home at La Galería del Pueblo, RILA’s new cultural center in Central Falls. We have already set up a community space inside and invite visitors to contribute to the oral histories. Marta continues to host regular Pláticas | Conversations and invites individuals to sit with her to share a story. These pláticas are open to the public — to learn more go here

In Spring and Summer of 2019, we will schedule three bilingual community pláticas — two in Central Falls and one in Providence. These events will bring people together to show us personal papers and/or photos and to contribute items to our collection. The Nuestras Raíces | Café Recuerdos cart will be on display at each location, and Marta, RILA's Executive Director and oral historian, will be available to listen and record your stories of immigration to Rhode Island.


Our work of collecting in-person oral histories with Café Recuerdos came to a sudden halt on March 11, 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown came into effect and left everyone quarantined at home, waiting to know the outcomes of the virus. However, we quickly bounced back during May-June of 2020 when we became aware that two professors from the Latin American Diaspora Class at Brown University were looking for support for students, who were quarantined and unable to complete their final school projects. As the pandemic around us was worsening, we thought about our Latino immigrants and what they must be
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Above: Ceci Cano of Pawtucket talks to Samantha “Sammy” Plezia, a Senior at Brown University about her experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. She was also worried about family who still lives in Colombia.
thinking about life in their home countries. Marta V. Martínez, our Executive Director and Community Oral Historian, met with the students and brainstormed ways they could support our project, while fulfilling their graduation requirements. Everyone agreed that it was important that the outcome of this experience provide reflection and connection with our immigrant communities during this important time in history.

The stories we collected in those two months were reflections from local Latinos who shared their thoughts about friends, colleagues and family who were living through the virus outside the United States. We posted these stories on the Nuestras Raíces website, where you can read them here

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