Una vida linda is a project that documents the Latinx community in Southwest Detroit. I first began photographing this community as part of a continuous project in 2011, after being accepted into a graduate program in Michigan. I chose to focus on this area due to the familiarity of space, which was reminiscent of my border hometown of San Benito, Texas. After living for some time in Detroit, I began to discover the rich history that Latinxs have maintained within this city.
As early as the beginning of the 1900s, Latinxs have lived and worked in Detroit. The early development of the railroad, agriculture, and automotive industries attracted many Latinx migrants to Detroit, who eventually created permanent homes for their families. Southwest Detroit, also know as Mexican town, is now home to many families originating from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Central America. Much of the work available to this community has changed in relation to the industries that are now present in Detroit. For the most part, the majority of Latinxs in the city work in the hospitality and construction sectors of the labor force.
On a more personal level, the photographic documentation of Southwest Detroit became a closer reflection of my past and a recollection of a world immersed within me. It is a portrayal of youth navigating the complexities of adulthood, culture, language, national borders, and religion. This project has become the expression of my voice through a lens, photographing contemporary cultural changes throughout our nation.