States of America: Relocation
By Brad Barber
Exploring what it means to be from a place and how the states we live in help us to form our identities.
Xong was born in a Hmong refugee camp in Thailand but moved to Wisconsin as a child after her family couldn't safely return to Laos following the Vietnam War. There she grew up as part of a large influx of twice dislocated Hmong refugees who were not always welcomed with open arms in the small city of La Crosse. Despite her experiences with racism, poor integration, and detachment from her own culture, Xong is determined to help the younger generation born in America stay connected.
In 1983, Mohinder moved to Northwest Washington and became the first Sikh person to start berry farming in the region. Since then his farm has thrived, he helped build a temple, and his service and leadership in the community planted seeds for a vibrant community of over 100 Sikh berry farmers today.
Evaristo was born in Mexico but moved to Idaho decades ago (legally) as a teen for work. For most of his life he has run a tractor here and worked long hours with local farmers. His children have all been raised in Idaho and his desire to return to Mexico wanes as he comes to terms with living most of his life in the states, between two cultures.
Though Clay's desire to help others as a paramedic drove his life, his son's suicide prompted a retreat from Tennessee to a remote corner of the Nevada desert. Here he's gradually found a role in a trailer park community that helps him heal through a revived yet fragile sense of public service.
Though Hanna Sizemore grew up wandering the mountains of West Virginia, her passion for understanding a larger universe took her to Silicon Valley, NASA, and eventually back to her Appalachian roots in the National Radio Quiet Zone, a region defined by its ban of radio transmitting devices. Here she negotiates communication and a sense of belonging with beloved neighbors and friends that often come from opposing ideological tribes.