Nashville Public Television's Next Door Neighbors Explores Local Diversity
Nashville Public Television’s award winning Next Door Neighbors series looks at Nashville’s status as a new destination city for refugees and immigrants, and explores the rich diversity of people now calling Nashville home. Across the United States, mid-sized cities like Nashville are experiencing unprecedented growth in their international populations. Together these communities are redefining the traditional international city on a smaller local scale. As new neighbors rebuild their lives in Nashville, their experiences, contributions and conflicts impact the city, but they are challenged by isolation and barriers unknown to many Nashvillians. How Nashville addresses its changing demographic will be important for the future of similar communities across the country.
Through five documentaries, extensive outreach and continued relationships with Nashville’s immigrant and refugee communities, the Next Door Neighbors project aims to increase understanding of unfamiliar cultures, highlight the experiences and successes of Nashville’s immigrants, and mediate a community-wide conversation. The documentaries, which NPT has been working on since 2007, are used by local corporations and school districts for diversity training. NPT’s Next Door Neighbors series also received the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s 2009 My Source Community Impact Award for Engagement. All documentaries are posted on YouTube and the NPT website.
Additionally, there are other critical components to the project including community engagement conversations, “Storytellers." NPT works with immigrants and refugees to help them tell their own stories with videos posted to YouTube, and Literacy Workshops, which are an extension of the Ready To Learn work, where NPT gives immigrants and refugees books to read to their children and teach them the value of reading with their kids. One of the storytellers is Cesar, a Mexican immigrant who unsuccessfully attempted to cross the border with his mother as a child. After being sent back to Mexico to live with relatives, he shares what it was like to be separated from his parents and eventually rejoined as they all sought a better life in America.
“They say a smile will be ultimately tears; and it’s very true.” So begins his touching personal story about ‘crossing the border’.
For more information on Cesar’s story, visit the Next Door Neighbors Storytellers website.
You can watch a video clip of Cesar’s ‘Crossing Border’ story here: