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Here for Good: The Latino Experience in Oklahoma

December, 2016

Project Scholarship by Mark Griffin • Project Filmography by Filo Gomez

Our short documentary Here for Good is a broad portrait of Oklahoma's Latino community, with a special emphasis on its recent growth, cultural contribution and struggle. After devoting a short amount of space to the community's long-standing presence in the state, the film portrays its economic and cultural vitality, the particular hardship brought on by house Bill 1804 (2007) and the activism of the young "Dreamers." The film also includes a wide range of voices: a historian, a novelist, an artist, a blue-collar worker, business leaders, and students.

Our work links Oklahoma to the U.S./Mexico border in at least two ways. The historical section of our work depicts the state as part of the "Greater Southwest"—in the sense that it has a Mexican-American presence that precedes statehood. The latter section highlights the more recent migration to Oklahoma from the border region (Ciudad Juarez), and the hybrid "borderlands" culture that can be found in places like south Oklahoma City and east Tulsa.

About the Filmmakers

Mark Griffin

Mark Griffin is Professor of Spanish at OCU and Chair of the Modern Language Department. He received his doctorate from Tulane University in 1996. He co-authored the book Living on the Borders, has published several articles in the areas of border studies and Latin American literature, and is co-producing a documentary on Hispanics in Oklahoma. He is involved in and developing community-engagement projects with/in the Hispanic community in Oklahoma City. His research focuses on national identities, and with a major dilemma faced by immigrant minorities: how to navigate between the twin perils of cultural loss and cultural isolation. Born and raised in Mexico, his creative work has focused on the personally-experienced phenomenon of the “third culture kid.” 

Filo Gomez

Filoteo Gómez Martínez is an Ayuuk (Mixe) mediamaker  who immigrated to Oklahoma from the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. His films have focused on environmental, indigenous, immigrant issues and historically marginalized communities—and are informed by his formal training in both filmmaking and geography. His other film credits include Dulce Convivencia (2004), Listening For the Rain: Indigenous Perspectives on Climate Change (2014), and Transborder Ayuuk Jaay (2015).

From Left to Right: Filo Gomez, Moeses (a community partner) and Mark Griffin.