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According to the US Census Bureau, the Latino population of Stevens County increased by almost 300% from 2000 to 2010. Previous research in the Morris community focused on the concerns of the Latino population and education staff at Morris public schools. This project examines the perspectives and experiences of English-dominant Morris residents, particularly civic leaders and business owners, to better understand how they view their communities and the changes taking place. Our project conducted 15 semi-structured interviews where questions focused on how participants understand their own identities, their knowledge about and interaction with the Morris Latino population, and the challenges of serving Latino community members. Building on preliminary analysis from fall 2015, we will argue that the community leaders in our sample have intersecting cultural and racial identities of varying salience to the individual, and have a diverse and typically positive understanding of the Morris Latino population. Nonetheless, language and cultural barriers were frequently mentioned as the main difficulty in serving Latino community members. This analysis considers the idea that these concerns, while real and well-founded, may also indicate hesitation to interact across cultural and linguistic boundaries. Our project contributes to social science research on the dynamics of changing rural communities. Findings will be used to increase inclusiveness in Morris through improving UMM service learning endeavors by collaborating with Argie Manolis and the Office of Community Engagement, and to contribute to the ongoing research by Oscar Baldelomar concerning Latinos in Morris.
Nyquist, Christina and Wahstrom, Hannah, "Views on Identity and Services: English-speaking Morris Residents Consider Latino Immigration" (2016). Undergraduate Research Symposium 2016. 4.