Defining El Sur Latino | Steven Alvarez

 In 2017, SFA explores El Sur Latino. To approach a multidimensional understanding of this moment in the U.S. South, we’ve enlisted over a dozen scholars, artists, writers, and entrepreneurs to reflect on what “El Sur Latino” means to them. Today’s reflection comes from Steven Alvarez, professor of English at St. John’s University in New York City and SFA Smith Symposium Fellow.

“El Sur Latino is also the Nuevo New South, the Latinization of the South from the migration of Latin Americans to the region. The South, with the exception of Florida, had traditionally experienced less migration from Latin America than states in the West, Southwest, Midwest, and Northeast. Over the last few decades, however, the South has experienced the most migration from Latin America.

El Sur Latino is an ethnicity layered on diverse races of people who speak Spanish in places where speaking Spanish in public gathers looks. El Sur Latino is as Southern as Weisenberger Mill corn tortillas. Latinos in those regions with longer histories of migration and settlement than the South offer lessons as to what el Sur Latino can be, and also not be. The uniqueness for el Sur Latino is that this moment is an opportunity to learn from what has made our communities stronger, but also to learn from our mistakes.” – Steven Alvarez