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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

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Renata Soto

Conexion Americas | Casa Azafran

Born in Costa Rica in 1972, Renata Soto moved to the United States to spend her senior year of college at Kenyon. After working in Atlanta for the Latin American Association, she and her husband moved to Nashville in 1996, where she started working in grant writing and community development for the United Way, a path that helped lead Renata to the vision for Conexion Americas. She saw the need for a holistic organization that would help address the opportunities and challenges facing a growing number of Latino families moving to Nashville.

Founded in 2002, Conexion Americas celebrated its tenth anniversary with the opening of Casa Azafran in 2012, a center that houses Conexion Americas and nine other related nonprofits and government agencies that strive to create a more welcoming and inclusive Nashville through services like healthcare, to language and performing arts classes. It’s also home to Mesa Komal, meaning “table” in Spanish and “community” in Kurdish. The kitchen offers space for twenty-two full-time food entrepreneurs.

Date of interview:

Jennifer Justus

Emily B. Hall

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

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