In September, six young women from the high school traveled to Bowling Green, Kentucky, to be the keynote presenters at Kentucky’s State Migrant Conference. What an incredible honor to be invited to a conference of this kind! The trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience due to the incredible reception we received from the migrant staff and students in Kentucky.
Our first stop was Western Kentucky University where we walked around campus and began to learn a little about Kentucky and its people. Next we checked into our hotel and met the Kentucky migrant students who would join us for the next couple of days. We became fast friends and even learned that one of us was related to one of them, our families coming from the same pueblo in Oaxaca.
Next we prepared for our keynote presentation and two workshops we would do on the healing power of personal stories. Our prep routine is vigorous since we take our presentations very seriously. Imagine a debate team prepping for a debate; that is a bit what we look like when we’re preparing for our presentations. We give our speeches over and over and over again, to each other, to Ms. Blackmore, to ourselves in the mirror, until we get it just right. We spend hours doing this in our hotel rooms the night before our big day.
Our presentations went really, really well. We enjoyed having the Kentucky migrant students with us throughout the process, even helping us with our workshops. One unexpected surprise came when the Kentucky migrant students showed us a documentary that they had made over the summer modeled after our documentary, but spotlighting many of the migrant students in Kentucky. Our book, DreamFields, had been purchased for all of the Kentucky migrant students who attended their state summer conference, as well as for every adult attendee at the State Migrant Conference. It was incredible to see that we had inspired so many people so far away from where we live. Watching their documentary was an emotional moment.
After we were done with the conference and said good bye to our many new friends, we explored Mammoth Cave National Park, visited the National Corvette Museum, and then hit the mall in Nashville, Tennessee. Throughout the trip, we tried new food: southern food at Cracker Barrel, Japanese food at a hibachi restaurant, and meat, meat, meat everywhere we went. People in Kentucky like to eat meat!
We returned to Washington feeling more inspired than ever to tell our stories because we saw firsthand how our stories had changed the lives of our new friends in Kentucky. We would love to find a way to incorporate the migrant students in Kentucky into the work that we are doing. We’re already busy planning our next step – as always we’re planning something BIG!
To see us in action in Kentucky, click this link: