Cambio de Colores : Latinos in the Heartland: Proceedings of the 11th Annual Conference: At the Crossroads: Incorporation or Marginalization? Columbia, Missouri, June 13-15, 2012
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The eleventh conference's driving theme was "At the Crossroads: "Incorporation or Marginalization?" Last year, we were surely facing uncertain and unsettling times because of the high pitch of the electoral rhetoric. We need to take the steps to decide, as a society, if we want incorporation or marginalization of the large numbers of immigrants that are settling here, there, and everywhere. It is, of course, a false option; we want, of Preface iii course, to take the road that incorporates the newly arrived families into our society. We know that marginalization is expensive in every social, economic and fiscal respect, and we have no right to impose the task of dealing with those problems on our children. Let us follow the yellow brick road that points to "incorporation" and "integration." We can go jumping and dancing like Dorothy and her friends, but we will soon find out that there is a deep canyon. To cross to the other side, we need a bridge. We better be brave, smart, and bring a big heart to devise and build the bridge. No wizards are available to help us. Bridges cannot be improvised. We need the human, social, and financial capital, the hearts of the people committed to building the bridge, and people at each side of the chasm who know about the other and want to work together. We need the courage to keep pushing the project, the stamina to resist, and to persuade today's naysayers that the bridge is for the common good. Finally, no matter how far back in history we go, bridge building has always required brains to carry out careful planning, precise measurements, and to select strong, yet flexible, materials. We need to understand soil, rocks, erosion, the knowledge that may be in the books or developed in the lab, or from measurements in the field. Solid knowledge is what universities bring to the project. We try to provide facts, not opinions; we try to be persuasive, not confrontational. We are now working in every one of these realms, and the Cambio de Colores conferences are the akademia where stakeholders come together to share their hearts, their courage, and their brains. We all can make a fine bridge: beautiful, strong, and durable, so that our children will be proud of our efforts.--Preface.