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BIC Announces 2017-2019 Partnerships with Chapel Hill and Siler City, NC

(en español abajo)

BIC Announces 2017-2019 Partnerships with Chapel Hill and Siler City, NC

BIC_logoThe statewide Building Integrated Communities initiative has selected the towns of Chapel Hill and Siler City as its next government partners for new community planning projects to support the integration of foreign-born, refugee, and Hispanic/Latinx residents. Beginning this spring, government staff in both towns will collaborate with diverse local residents and organizations to assess newcomer communities and generate effective, consensus-based strategies for strengthening relationships and supporting newcomers’ engagement and leadership in local government.

Chapel Hill and Siler City applied to the BIC program as part of a competitive application process that ended in February. As selected partners, both towns will receive research, facilitation, technical support, and project coordination from BIC staff at UNC-Chapel Hill for the two year project period.

BIC is an initiative of the The Latino Migration Project and is supported by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. BIC also offers consulting services to local governments, community groups, and businesses. For more information, contact Jessica White at or 919-962-2414 (habla español).

BIC anuncia colaboraciones del 2017-2019 con Chapel Hill y Siler City, NC

La iniciativa a nivel estado Construyendo Comunidades Integradas (BIC por sus siglas en inglés) ha seleccionado los pueblos de Chapel Hill y Ciudad Siler como sus próximos dos socios gubernamentales para nuevos proyectos de planificación comunitaria para apoyar la integración de los residentes nacidos en el extranjero, refugiados, e hispanos/latinxs. Comenzando esta primavera, el personal gubernamental de ambos pueblos colaborarán con diversos residentes locales y organizaciones para evaluar las comunidades recién llegadas y generar estrategias efectivas basadas en consensos para fortalecer relaciones y apoyar la participación y el liderazgo de los recién llegados en los gobiernos locales.

Chapel Hill y Siler City aplicaron al programa BIC como parte de un proceso de aplicación competitiva que terminó en febrero. Como gobiernos seleccionados, ambos pueblos recibirán servicios de investigación, facilitación, soporte técnico, y coordinación de proyecto de BIC en UNC-Chapel Hill por el periodo de dos años del proyecto.

BIC es una iniciativa del Proyecto de Migración Latina y es apoyado por la Fundación Z. Smith Reynolds. BIC también ofrece servicios de consulta para gobiernos locales, grupos comunitarios, y negocios. Para más información, contactar a Jessica White al o al 919-962-2414 (habla español).

LMP Welcomes Professors Laura Diaz Leal and Maria Eugenia Reyes Ramos

By Laura Villa Torres

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LMP staff (center) with visiting scholars (far right and left)

The Latino Migration Project hosted visiting scholars and professors Laura Diaz Leal and Maria Eugenia Reyes Ramos, from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Unidad Xochimilco.

As part of their visit, professors Diaz Leal and Reyes Ramos presented their research at the Southern Oral History Program and Duke University using some oral histories that are part of the New Roots/Nuevas Raíces collection. They also participated in the APPLES Guanajuato Class where they interacted with students who travel to Guanajuato for their Alternative Spring Break experience.

Visiting scholars also met with local representatives from Mexico and other community leaders, to explore issues faced by the Mexican community in North Carolina. Finally, the professors explored collaborations with the Latino Migration Project to possibly replicate the New Roots Archive in Mexico, as a sister archive, to open the possibility for students exchanges in the future, and to explore the publication of a special edition of their home department´s journal for a publication of Spanish articles to disseminate the work done in NC for Spanish-speaking audiences.

Professors commented about their experience:

“Nuestra experiencia en la UNC , desde la llegada hemos estado atendidas y cuidadas en todo momento, Con un programa bien elaborado de actividades a realizar. Ha sido sorprendente conocer la Universidad de Chapell Hill, con un campues tan grande y bien distribuido y atendido.
Las actividades que han sido planeadas , han sido cubiertas en tiempo y forma y horario y las personas que hemos tenido oportunidad de entrevistar , han sido cordiales, atentas y han accedido a nuestras entrevistas, tanto población inmigrante mexicana como personas que dirigen instituciones.
Han sido un aprendizaje y una experiencia de intercambio importante para nuestro desarrollo, aprendizaje y nuevos conocimientos. Esperamos poder continuar con este intercambio, ya que han muchas cosas que podemos aportar desde Mèxico y muchos aspectos que hemos entendido y que ustedes nos aportan a nosotros.
El campus de la Universidad me ha impresionado mucho por sus dimensiones, por la organización , por la cantidad de programas que ofrece, por las áreas en que se trabaja por el número de alumnos que atiende. Nos impresionan todos los servicios con que cuentan los alumnos, es algo de llamar mucho la atención. Vemos una ciudad universitaria y eso hace muy cómoda la estancia para los alumnos. Como invitadas es conocer otro modelo de universidad, que también nos hace reflexionar en nuestras propias Universidades , en lo que nosotros tenemos en Mèxico y nos da idea de las cuestiones que podríamos implementar allá.”

We were so glad to host such wonderful guests! We hope you will come again!

LMP staff participate in 2017 annual Engagement Units Summit

From left to right: Laura Villa Torres, Jessica White, Sara Peña and Maria

From left to right: LMP team members Laura Villa Torres, Jessica White, Sara Peña and Maria Silvia Ramírez.

The Latino Migration Project (LMP) presented a poster at the annual Engagement Units Summit Feb. 10, which was hosted by the Carolina Engagement Council at the Carolina Club, George Watts Hill Alumni Center. Team members discussed LMP initiatives of Building Integrated Communities, New Roots/Nuevas Raíces, and APPLES Global Course Guanajuato.

The summit focused on engaged experiential education: to enhance student learning and support communities. The summit was for campus engagement units and community partners. Centers, institutes, schools, departments and student organizations sent teams that represented overall units or specific efforts within a unit.

The program included:
Keynote address by Dr. Tania Mitchell, nationally recognized expert in the field of experiential education from the University of Minnesota,
Presentations on successful models for undergraduate, graduate and professional student experiential education, and
Roundtable discussions on how the University could better support and enhance experiential education on campus and with communities.

Student Spotlight: Guanajuato, Building Integrated Communities Intern Paige Hines

UNC Study Abroad in Guanajuato, Mexico is a student exchange program with the Universidad de Guanajuato (UG) in the city of Guanajuato, Mexico. This is a collaborative program of UNC Study Abroad, the Latino Migration Project, and the Department of Romance Studies.

UNC students directly enroll at the Universidad de Guanajuato (UG) for an opportunity to fully integrate into the academic, social, and cultural life in Guanajuato. One of these students we had the pleasure of speaking with is Paige Hines.


Paige Hines, Global Course Guanajuato Alum

Q: Paige, thank you so much for joining us. Can you tell us a little more about yourself?

A: I’m a senior Global Studies and Spanish Literatures and Culture major, originally from Greensboro, North Carolina. Like Chapel Hill and Carrboro, Greensboro has an increasing immigrant and refugee population. Growing up, and especially in high school, I was fortunate enough to be able to hear some of their stories, which has definitely informed how I see North Carolina today.

Q: Tell us more about what brought you to participate in the UNC Study Abroad Guanajuato program. How did the experience impact you?

A: I knew that I wanted to study abroad, learn more about Latin American culture and improve my Spanish. I heard of the spring service learning course that traveled to Guanajuato over spring break and thought it was a fascinating way to learn more about migration, its causes and the communities many who have settled in North Carolina have come from. When I saw that the study abroad program to Guanajuato opened up, I thought it would be a great opportunity to have a unique experience abroad. Also, Mexico has always fascinated me!

I loved every second of being in Guanajuato. I learned a lot about culture, food, politics, art, society and history through my host family who I chatted with over breakfast and dinner every day. Through the study abroad program, I got to see a rural side to the state I was living in, and learned about obstacles to higher education for those living in rural areas. I was really fortunate that pretty much every aspect of living in Guanajuato was a learning opportunity, from my friends, school, service and home. I was surprised at how many people I met by chance who had family connections to North Carolina.

Q: Wow, small world! We’re so glad you made connections that are so close to home. What are you up to now? IMG_1186

A: Since I’ve returned, I have been working Building Integrated Communities, an initiative that partners with North Carolinian towns and counties to implement policies that better include their immigrant populations, as well as Student Action with Farmworkers, a non-profit in Durham that bring students together with farmworkers to work to further the farmworker justice movement in the Carolinas. I have been excited in both roles to learn about different issues facing Latino immigrants, especially in terms of health and policy.

Q: We love how involved you are. What do you tell your friends when they ask about Guanajuato?

A: Guanajuato is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico, and maybe the world! I was fascinated by the landscapes all around the city, and the colorful buildings characteristic of Guanajuato. I think many people have a different idea of what my experiences would be like than they really were, so I love to break those expectations.

My favorite memory may have been when my parents came to visit me. I became very close with my host family, and one night we all went out to dinner at a nice restaurant in a main plaza. A group of about 15 student-performers dressed in old Spanish attire (the town is Cevantes obsessed) came in to sing traditional callejoneada songs to another table, which is quite the performance. I got to enjoy the evening with my two families, who couldn’t even speak to each other, and celebrate a Guanajuato tradition. It was exciting to have my parents experience this alongside me, and my host family got to explain to us the history behind the songs and traditions. It was a memorable night!IMG_1383

Q: A memorable night indeed! We love that story. Why should others consider going to Guanajuato? 

Guanajuato is an amazingly multicultural city because of the university. People wanted to share with you the things they loved about their country, its people and culture. It also is complexly located economically. Much is changing and quickly, from industry and mining to agriculture and folk art. I think it is important to learn a little about those economic struggles to understand many facets of migration.

IMG_1192Q: When you are not studying, what do you like to do for fun?

For fun I like to read, travel, drink good coffee at cafes, backpack and hike and do yoga. I did all of those things in Guanajuato, too!

Paige, thank you so much. We look forward to hearing about your future adventures!

New Roots Welcomes Roman Scholar Micol Drago


From left to right: Building Integrated Communities Researcher and Program Coordinator, Jessica White, Roman Scholar Micol Drago, and LMP Director Hannah Gill

As New Roots rolled out its new website in 2016 thanks to support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, we are delighted that our efforts to make the oral histories globally accessible are having some initial success. In October 2016, New Roots staff had the opportunity to meet Micol Drago, a student from the University of Roma 3 in Rome, Italy, while on a visit to North Carolina. She discovered the New Roots online resources in the course of her research on Latina and Latino identity in the United States. The New Roots Latino Oral Histories have become the primary source for her PhD thesis, which is entitled “Identity in Latinas and Latinos’ oral histories from the New Roots – Latino Migration Project.” We asked Micol some questions about her research and use of the archive in order to better understand how it is being used by foreign scholars.

Hannah Gill (HG): How did you find the New Roots Oral Histories?

Micol Drago (MD): I conducted extensive research looking for archives of oral histories of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. This is the best archive I’ve found in terms of accessibility and quality of interviews on Latino identity. Also, it’s an ongoing archive with recent materials that is well-structured.

HG: What are some of the more interesting things you have discovered using the archive for your research?IMG_3056

MD: Race and culture are important parts of the complex Latino and Latina identities in the United States. . . Anyone can be “American,” it’s an identity linked to choice. By contrast, in Italy, being “Italian” is not a choice, it’s more linked to one’s heritage and race.

HG: How has migration impacted Italian society in recent years?

MD: Europe has been impacted by the global refugee crisis,
and many migrants from the Middle East and Africa now live in Italy. Society is really changing in Italy, and Rome is an international place. What is happening in the United States with migration is relevant to Europe, and we can learn a lot from understanding the history of migration in the United States.

Thank you, Micol! We wish you the best of luck with your studies!

Taking the road less traveled: Spotlight on Guanajuato alum Michelle Carreño

Through leadership development, experiential learning, and engaged service, Guanajuato alumni have had an incredible impact through our programs, and continue to make their mark in their careers. One of these professionals we had the pleasure of connecting with is Michelle Carreño.


Carreño in Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

After graduating from UNC and participating in the APPLES Global Course Guanajuato, Carreño moved to Colombia to become a bilingual World History middle school teacher with plans to eventually travel around South America alone.

“Traveling solo has been something I have always wanted to do ever since I can remember,” Carreño said. “The idea of going to a foreign place: meeting new people, learning about a new culture, a new language, trying new types of food, dancing different types of music, visiting new places, making decisions on my own from the smallest to the biggest ones and all of this ‘solo’ sounded so fascinating to me, and especially in Latin America with an indefinite time.”

While a student at UNC, Carreño took LTAM classes and instantly connected to the material.

“I did not realize how passionate and interested I became with Latin American studies when I first took classes,” Carreño said. “It was something so natural to me… I truly believe I felt I was searching my identity and learning where I came from.”

Being the daughter of Colombian immigrants, Carreño wanted to explore that side of her identity and moved to Colombia after graduation with the intention of teaching for a couple of years and then traveling alone. After the first year ended and it was time to resign her contract, Carreño made the difficult decision to pursue her solo travel dreams sooner than she intended.


Carreño (above) is a Guanajuato alum

And it paid off.

“What many people do not realize is that traveling brings heaps of enriching perks to our lives and helps humans become stronger,” Carreño said. “Additionally, I soon realized in my travels, you never travel alone because you meet millions of people disposed to give you a hand and share with you your path if it’s for 5 minutes to a few hours to days to months to years.”

Seven countries later, Carreño has taken advantage of her time in South America. Whether camping, hiking, or meeting new people, Carreño explored places in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina. She was even able to meet up with her brother to explore the Amazon and Brazil.

When it comes to traveling solo, Carreño encourages others to do the same.

“I decided to take this trip through Latin America because it has been one of my dreams and I also wanted to empower women, especially Latinas, that they can travel ‘sola’ through their own continent,” Carreño said. “You will grow in so many ways. Best of all, you will see how you’re not either from here nor there and that we are all world citizens/darte cuenta que no eres ni de aquí ni de allá y que todos somos ciudadanos del mundo.”

Whether she is in South America traveling solo or back in the States, you can find Carreño dancing, doing yoga, hiking, swimming, reading, and of course, traveling.

Thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us, Michelle! We can’t wait to hear more!

See more of Michelle’s adventure below:

Rev. Erika Martínez Flores receives 2016 Sharon S. Mújica Community Service Award


Rev. Erika Martínez Flores (right) with Latino Migration Project Director Dr. Hannah Gill

Rev. Erika Martínez Flores received the 2016 Sharon S. Mújica Community Service Award Thursday, Dec. 8, 2015, at the 10th Annual Institute for the Study of the Americas Faculty Dinner. This award is given annually by the Institute for the Study of the Americas to individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to Latin American and Latino communities in North Carolina.

“It is a great honor to receive this award,” Rev. Martínez Flores said, thanking her community for practicing social justice and creating an inclusive cultural place.

As part of Sanford Building Integrated Communities, Rev. Erika Martínez Flores helped lead the Planning Committee to support Lee County’s immigrant and Hispanic residents all while serving as Executive Director of El Refugio/The Refuge. After analyzing the data of over 300 immigrant and Hispanic county residents, the Planning Committee worked to streamline strategies that would advance communication, improve public transportation, and support Hispanic leadership and engagement in local government into a single, comprehensive plan. This action plan was unanimously endorsed by the City of Sanford City Council and the Lee County Board of Commissioners.

Past recipients of the Sharon S. Mújica award include Blanca Zendejas Neinhaus, Jerry Markatos, Florence Simán, Ilana Dubester, Cassandra Daniels and Alvena Heggins, Gail Phares and Sarah Plastino.


Building Integrated Communities (BIC) is a statewide initiative that helps North Carolina local governments successfully engage with immigrants and refugee populations in order to improve public safety, promote economic development, enhance communication, and improve relationships. As a result of working with BIC, local governments and diverse community stakeholders have the tools to generate locally-relevant strategies to strengthen immigrant civic engagement, linguistic achievement, and economic/educational advancement.

The program is supported by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

Please enjoy photos from the evening (below). Photo credit Jorge Ochoa.

Request for Applications: Building Integrated Communities (BIC) Local Government Partnerships

Request for Applications:
Building Integrated Communities (BIC) Local Government Partnerships


The Latino Migration Project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill invites local governments in North Carolina to join the statewide Building Integrated Communities (BIC) initiative.

Building Integrated Communities (BIC) is a multi-year community planning process that helps North Carolina local governments to successfully engage with local foreign-born, refugee, and Hispanic/Latinx residents to improve relationships, enhance communication, and promote economic development.
In February, 2017, BIC will select two local governments as its newest partners for a two year project period starting in the spring of 2017. All towns, cities, and counties in NC are eligible to apply.

To apply, download the application 2017 Application for Local Governments or access it online:

Submission Deadline: 5:00 PM Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017
Prospective Applicant Webinar Meeting: 12:00 PM Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016

Access webinar slides here.

The BIC initiative also offers consulting services to local governments, community organizations, and businesses.

The 2017 schedule for application review and determination have also changed accordingly, as follows:

Applicant Site Visits/Conferences: February 13 – February 24
Applicant Notification: February 27 – March 3

More about Building Integrated Communities (BIC)

BIC facilitates newcomers’ civic engagement and leadership in local governments and promotes the educational and economic advancement of increasingly diverse communities. Our methods include multi-sector stakeholder collaboration in processes such as participatory community assessment and consensus-based action planning. Since 2010, BIC has partnered with the cities of Greenville, High Point, Winston-Salem, and Sanford to create and implement four citywide action plans for immigrant integration, the first such plans in the South.

Above: City of Sanford Mayor Chet Mann awards the Building Integrated Communities team a key to the city.

Above: City of Sanford Mayor Chet Mann awards the Building Integrated Communities team a key to the city.

As one example of a successful initiative, the Sanford City Council and Lee County Commissioners recently, and unanimously, endorsed a comprehensive action plan proposed by the Sanford BIC Planning Committee (2014-2017) to advance communication, improve public transportation, and support Hispanic/Latinx leadership and engagement in local government. You can read more about the Sanford BIC successes at; the Sanford BIC community assessment report is also available in English and Spanish at

To learn more about past BIC partnerships, visit

For questions about the webinar, application, and general BIC initiative, please contact Jessica White, BIC Researcher and Coordinator,, 919 962-2414

BICThe Latino Migration Project is a collaborative program of the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the Center for Global Initiatives at UNC Chapel Hill.
The program is supported by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.



Building Integrated Communities in “Hometown News”


Click to read the article.

We are pleased to share that Building Integrated Communities is featured in the Sanford Hometown News (Magazine). Thanks again to all for joining Sanford BIC at our Community Kickoff & Celebration. Sanford BIC will continue to update Lee County residents about The Hispanic Council and other upcoming leadership opportunities. You can still read the full plan of new programs for Hispanic/Latinx residents in English or Spanish at

Queremos compartir que Building Integrated Communities aparece en la revista Sanford Hometown News (Revista). Gracias otra vez a todx por unirse a Sanford BIC para nuestro Lanzamiento y Celebración Comunitaria. Sanford BIC seguir actualizándo a los residentes del Condado de Lee sobre el Consejo Hispano y otras oportunidades de liderazgo inminentes. Todavía puede leer el plan completo de los nuevos programas para residentes hispanos/latinos en inglés o español aquí:



The Hometown News (Magazine) is continuing to be published in memory of Alexander C. Brower III to continue his legacy by Gwendolyn Oliphant who is the Registered Agent/Owner and Aunt of the late Alexander C. Brower III. Read the PDF or online version.

Sanford Mayor awards UNC BIC team key to the city


Many thanks to Sanford Building Integrated Communities (BIC) for coming together on November 12, 2016, to celebrate their incredible accomplishments. We are honored that the City of Sanford awarded keys to Latino Migration Project Director Dr. Hannah Gill and BIC Researcher and Coordinator Jessica White in recognition of the statewide BIC initiative. sanford_cropped_2Congratulations, team!


Building Integrated Communities (BIC) is a statewide initiative that helps North Carolina local governments successfully engage with immigrants and refugee populations in order to improve public safety, promote economic development, enhance communication, and improve relationships. As a result of working with BIC, local governments and diverse community stakeholders have the tools to generate locally-relevant strategies to strengthen immigrant civic engagement, linguistic achievement, and economic/educational advancement.

The program is supported by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.