The Escucha Project: Documenting Hispanics of Phoenix started with one purpose: to speak less and listen more. Often times, I find myself focused on what I can contribute to a conversation rather than listening to what others have to say; this project was the first step in changing that. As a student pursuing a Spanish language minor in the School of International Letters and Cultures, I decided to combine three things I am passionate about: the Spanish language, storytelling, and people. Similar to the Humans of New York blog by Brandon Stanton, which features portraits and interviews collected on the streets of New York City, I photographed and highlighted the stories of Hispanics in Phoenix. Each interview started with a brief description of the project, followed by a series of questions, and finally, a photograph. Through a blog and social media, I documented the photographs and quotes of those who I spoke with. The simple concept and project procedure led to complex and thoughtful realizations, not only from myself, but also from those who followed along. I was surprised at how similar and thematic the responses were throughout the process. The most common themes throughout the interviews were family, education, opportunity, and fear. By speaking with individuals within the Hispanic population of Phoenix and learning more about them, I feel that the overall purpose was achieved. Regardless of the content of their interview, each one of them allowed a non-native Spanish speaker into some part of their life and that is something I am grateful to have facilitated.
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