“Life asks us to be courageous in so many ways, and the women on that stage tonight were very brave for what they endured and for what they shared. You’re doing wonderful work with Hidden Voices.”

The project was created with Student Action with Farmworkers and the Franklin County Schools and with support from the North Carolina Humanities Council.

Not Your Mama’s Home Cookin’:

The Changing Face of Rural North Carolina

How do you interact with others whose cultural differences are as immediately apparent as the language they speak? Not Yo Mama’s Home Cookin’ explores the new face of rural North Carolina, Latino, African-American, Euro-American and other, through the eyes of local teens.
Who belongs?
Who doesn’t?
Who says? 

These Franklin County teens delved into ethnicity, family, and their sense of place through photography, poetry, dance, recipes, and conversations not allowed in polite company.
What stereotypes do you have about each other?
What parts are true?
What are your dreams and fears?
What’s the best ethnic joke you know?

Why do Mexicans have Cabbage Patch dolls?
Oh, I know, I know. Cause they get ‘em from the fields? Where they’re working?
No, because the dolls have birth certificates.
That’s mean.
Cause they got here illegally.
The dolls?
No, the Mexicans.
Is that saying they don’t have green cards?
No, you have to have a birth certificate to cross the country.
You do?
I thought you had to have a green card.
You have to have a birth certificate to get a green card.
Don’t they have birth certificates in Mexico?

Along with three interns from UNC-CH, a SAF photographer, and an amazing graphic designer, the semester’s worth of afterschool workshops in photography, writing, and conversation developed into a revealing performance and an engaging booklet. From Poke Salad to Peach Cobbler to Posole, the recipes they shared and the questions they asked offer a glimpse into a world their parents could never have imagined.

Community Here

Not Yo Mama’s Home Cookin’ arose from a series of conversations about the changing face of rural North Carolina.   We began to hear from rural counties about the growing communities of Latino and Hispanic farmworkers in the state.  What used to be migrant agricultural work was becoming more permanent.  Jobs were expanding into other fields, including construction.  The face and faces of rural North Carolina were changing.

Hidden Voices, Student Action with Farmworkers, and the Franklin County school system envisioned a project in which students from different ethnic backgrounds explored their common ground.  The ground, as one might expect, was rocky.  Conversations were filled with misinformation, confusion, laughter, camaraderie, and challenge.  Along the way the project managed to offend most everyone involved.  This is what happens when we look beneath the surface.  But we survived.  We kept telling the stories.  The booklet and performance are a testament to the students’ willingness to persevere and their openness to shifting perspectives.