Senior public affairs major Priscilla Applebee shared the journeys of Latinx Americans in her senior project, “The Latinx American Dream,” which she released online over the course of May.
Applebee interviewed six members of the Latinx community for her senior project to discuss the journeys they took to achieve their American dream. Her subjects range in careers including a singer, an academic specialist, a client service representative for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, a university professor, a chief of police and a CEO.
Applebee said she was inspired to make this project because of her Latinx roots. She wanted to represent her community and show viewers the successes that members of these communities can accomplish, regardless of hardships. Applebee said her own lineage inspired her as well.
“My mom and my grandma were born in Mexico and they came over here,” Applebee said. “It’s just kind of to show them how much I appreciate things they’ve done so that I can have an education like this.”
Applebee also said she feels there is always a good story to tell and wanted her subjects’ experiences to be heard and resonate with other minority communities.
“We all have similar struggles. It could be our gender, it could be our race, it could be anything like that,” Applebee said. “That was something that I felt, if you watched it, you could hear in everybody’s story that there was something that you could relate to.”
“The Latinx American Dream” was initially supposed to be a live panel with the interviewees where students could show up and ask them questions about their journeys. However, that quickly changed when the school shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But Applebee received a lot of support during this project including some from her project adviser, Senior Adjunct Professor of Communications Danielle Eubank.
“Priscilla was faced having to change her project drastically in the middle because of the COVID-19 situation,” Eubank said. “She handled that amazingly. She just tackled it head on.”
Eubank’s favorite part of the project was how Applebee was able to bring a variety of Latinx experiences to light.
“That’s the other super important thing about her project,” Eubank said. “The way that she brought a wonderful variety of stories to our eyes and ears; these are great stories, great interviews.”
One subject Applebee interviewed was Alma Martinez, associate professor of theater, who thought it was important to always share and value stories.
“Life is a story. Everything is a story. Everything has a story,” Martinez said.
Martinez said it is important for audiences to take away key themes from this project.
“What to take away is the uniqueness of the Latino experience. But, the universality of the Latino experience in the context of global human experience,” Martinez said. “The more stories we tell, the thing is, the more people will see the universality of the human experience.”
Applebee also received praise and support from the Office of Civic and Community Engagement, particularly from director Julissa Espinoza.
“I like the fact that she was able to interview a variety of people in different fields and put the story together,” Espinoza said. “I thought this was a good opportunity to get the word out.”
Espinoza is looking into the possibility of incorporating the project into the Community Engagement’s programming for Latino Heritage month in September. Espinoza said she thought it was important for others to watch this project because of its ability to encourage and inspire.
“When you hear other people, you know you’re not alone,” Espinoza said. “I’m hoping that students learn from all these stories and experiences and are also inspired.”
“The Latinx American Dream” can be viewed on YouTube.
Aaron Arellano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.