DO NOT BE CONFORMIST!
Hi I’m Yuritzkiri Sixtos Medina, originally from Cheran Michoacán Mexico. I immigrated to the United States in 2015, at the age of 38, wanting to start and have my own family. My husband has lived here in the City of Reading since 1992. (For 8 years leading up to 2015, Yuritzkiri made extended summer visits to Reading, and her husband traveled to Mexico during the Christmas holidays and again in spring.)
For me it was difficult to accept the change after having a comfortable life in my country, a stable job, the fact that you have to leave everything in oblivion is complicated. They were desperate days because you leave what you love most – your relatives, and what you like most – your job. In my case my profession (as a teacher of the arts, with a particular passion for dance/Folkloric Dance) which I always developed with ethics and above all, with heart, for 17 years.
And then . . . Arriving in a new country, feeling that first barrier that is the language, is very difficult for an immigrant. The first years were very difficult because I felt desperate, useless for the simple fact of not being able to practice my profession. That frustration of the language collapses you little by little however, the hope, the strength, the deepest desire to move forward is the only thing that made me get up when I felt lost.
I couldn’t go on like this. My desire to continue practicing my profession did not allow me to stay in my comfort zone. I needed to fill that space with what I really like, with what is my passion: education, Folk Dance.
So I began to knock on doors of institutions to be able to form a Mexican Folkloric Dance Group that represented my customs and traditions. But more than that, to feel my Mexico close and exercise my profession in some way. Dance is an art that connects me directly with my profession – through it I feel accomplished and useful.
During the process to organize Grupo Uarhani (In Yuritzkiri’s native Purepecha language ‘Uarhani’ means ‘dance’ or ‘dancer’) I had many disappointments, especially because I did not know the laws of the country. Organizations that are supposed to help the migrant simply told me, “We cannot help you with your project.” until I got to Barrio Algeria and met their leaders. I will always be grateful for their support because today I can say, DO NOT BE CONFORMIST!
There is always a door that can be opened to realize your dreams. You just have to persevere, do not let them die. I continue seeking my dreams today, despite not knowing English and even though I feel bad about that. I say to myself, “Come on, you can, for you, for Grupo Uarhani.” (NOTE: Grupo Uarhani is a Latino Dance Group, actually formed by Mexicans, Salvadorans and Ecuadorians and also welcomes others.)
I love the connection that exists between the members and as long as there is one participant to dance, I will continue with them because our people need to feel, in some way, their country close. I am proud of my Grupo Uarhani and Barrio Algeria. As long as I live in Reading PA I will continue to volunteer to improve our quality of life emotionally and to recover the moral values that have been lost today.
Latinos, united, make a difference as long as we do not stay in our comfort zone. DO NOT BE CONFORMIST!
About our logo: designed by José Joel Delgado-Rivera, Public Relations and Marketing Consultant.
This project is funded by a FARO grant provided by a partnership between the Wyomissing Foundation and Barrio Alegría. Produced in conjunction with BCTV.
If you have a story to share, contact: [email protected] or 484-333-4015