In celebration of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s first ten years, we collaborated with our friends at Crystal Bridges to feature a few of the remarkable people contributing to the well-being of the Northwest Arkansas community.
Inspired by Norman Rockwell’s iconic painting Rosie the Riveter, which turns attention to the American women who worked in factories during World War II, these profiles feature individuals in our region who contribute in essential ways to the needs of our community. Each person highlighted works tirelessly, and often without fanfare, to spread hope and healing.
The portraits in this series will be on display in the Community Champions section of Crystal Bridges at 10, which will open to the public from July 11, 2021 to September 27, 2021. Crystal Bridges at 10 is an immersive exhibition with 10 distinct art experiences celebrating the museum’s collection and the local community one decade into the museum’s lifetime.
Q&A w/ Jazmin
Since you’ve been present in Northwest Arkansas, where are the places you have found community? What are some of the local places, past or present, you go to celebrate?
Some places that I find community are Taqueria Mexico in Springdale. Taqueria Mexico has been around for such a long time and their food never disappoints. Another place is Mojitos. I love going there in the summer with friends and eating on the patio.
All of the artwork being featured in this exhibition traveled great distances before landing in Northwest Arkansas as part of the Crystal Bridges collection. What distances did you travel to arrive in Northwest Arkansas? When did you arrive? What about this place keeps you here?
I moved to NWA at the age of five from Aldama, Chihuahua Mexico in 1996. We drove about 19 hours to get here. This has been my home ever since, we would go back to visit every year since I still have family, grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins, but after two weeks, I am always ready to come home. I remember when I moved here there were maybe 2-3 other students in my grade that spoke Spanish so it was a very difficult adjustment especially not knowing the language. I think being immersed in this type of environment forced me to learn English fairly quickly. I started in January of 1996 and by May I had already picked up a bit of the language.
You are being recognized as part of this celebration, in part, because of the spirit of caring you bring to your interactions with others. To what and/or whom do you attribute the development of this spirit of caring to?
I attribute my spirit of caring to my grandma Fabiola, my father’s mother. She was always so optimistic and happy, always grateful for everything she had. She had a very difficult childhood becoming an orphan before the age of 10. You would never have thought she had such a difficult childhood, she was always so kind, loving, and always had a huge smile. I always remember she made all of her grandchildren feel like we were her favorite. She never made any one of us feel less, we were all special to her. I always remember my grandma waking up in a good mood, there is one saying she would say when she woke up that I always remember. She would say “fuerte, sana, feliz” which translates to “strong, healthy, happy.” She was the first loss I experienced at the age of 15 yet she is always present in my mind and in my heart. I also attribute this spirit of caring to my mom and dad. I grew up seeing the unconditional love they always gave me and they have always been so hardworking. My dad has always been so selfless and always helping others. His hobby is working on cars and being a mechanic―he would oftentimes give up his weekends and work outside in the heat or cold fixing these cars for friends and family. He works long hours of construction and has been with the same company for about 23 years. My mother has always been such a rock to me and a role model. She has helped me become the woman I am today, I hope that I can always make her proud and happy. She is now my best friend; she is my everything.
Part of this project was about celebrating you in your role as a patient navigator, what led you to join the Community Clinic? What do you enjoy most about this work?
My role as a Patient Navigator has been one of the most amazing things I have been privileged to do. I had graduated from the University of Arkansas the fall before COVID hit. I had been working at a bank and stayed there until September of that year. COVID was in full force and I saw how disproportionately it was affecting the Latino and Marshallese communities. I had a friend who worked for Community Clinic as the Breast Care Coordinator and she told me about this new position. Community Clinic created this new position to help our Spanish-speaking and Marshallese-speaking patients with information that could be given to them in their language. One of the most important tasks was giving the community information so that they could better take care of themselves and their families. The numbers kept going up day by day, and we spoke to so many patients―all of whom were scared. We tried to keep them calm and just talk to them―we would be there to listen and if they had questions. We tried to just keep them informed with ways to protect themselves and their families, how long their quarantine would be for and the process to expect. We would also deliver food to our patients to help them be able to keep their quarantine and stay home. After my role as a COVID Navigator, I currently have the privilege to be a Patient Navigator. My roles in this position are what I love most. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I go to the Tyson plants and help our Tyson patients with appointments, information, prescription refills. I am basically there to be their point of contact with the Clinic. A lot of times they don’t have time during the day to call or when they get off work the clinic is already closed. I am there to give them the opportunity to schedule appointments or ask questions while they are at work. On the remaining days of the week, Community Clinic has a Mobile Health Unit where we go and help our housing insecure friends. We go to different locations around Fayetteville from 7 Hills, Genesis Church, and several FHA properties and meet them where they are. We know how difficult it can be to go to the clinic so we go to them, we have a provider that is available for medical questions or concerns. My role is to help patients fill out Medicaid applications, food stamps, schedule appointments at our Fayetteville Clinic, or if they need help with food I will pick it up from food banks and take it to their homes. They are always so thankful and I learn so much from them every single time we go on the Mobile Health Unit. I learn that every day is a good day and that there are so many things to be thankful for. All of them are so kind and thankful, I always wish we could do so much more for them.
I am inspired by everything that Community Clinic does for the community. There is a big need in NWA and Community Clinics’ mission to help has been so inspiring since day one. Since orientation and training, I have been astonished by how much they have helped and continue helping the underserved. We want everyone to have the same access to good quality health care. I look forward to going to work every day and talking to people and seeing if there are ways in which I can help.
I am passionate about human rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, everyone, regardless of race or religion, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. We all need to be more kind to one another, we are all so much more similar than we are different. I am passionate about immigrant rights. I was born in Chihuahua, Mexico―people like my mother and father leave their countries for a better future for their children. People don’t leave their countries, families, language, customs, and culture for amusement. We leave our native countries because sometimes there are no other options. Unfortunately, our countries of origin can’t provide jobs that can help families sustain their children. I have the privilege to go back to Mexico every year―I love my country, I love my people, my culture, it just saddens me to see the disparities of how people live. There are very rich and then there are very poor. I always wish there were more resources available, better-paying jobs―that way everyone could provide good living conditions for their families.
One of the most important moments I am proud of is completing my Bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a concentration in European and Transatlantic Affairs. My parents gave up so much to come to this country, I wanted their hard work to pay off. I am here and I am the woman I am today because of them. My parents have always been my inspiration and of course my brothers.
I love all kinds of food, especially going out to eat with friends and family.
- US Pizza
- Slim’s Chicken
- Mr. Taco Loco
- Taqueria Mexico
- Taqueria Michoacana
- Olive Garden
I don’t have a favorite song, I listen to all kinds of music from Country, Pop, and Latin Pop.
Finally, Crystal Bridges at 10 was designed to both mark the museum’s first 10 years and set the precedent for the decade to come. Looking out into the future, what do you hope for our region and community?
I hope that we continue growing and becoming more united. I hope that we understand that we are all more similar than we think and that we can become more of a community and help others in need. I hope that we focus more on what we can do for others and how each person doing a little can do so much in a person’s life.
Please list 10 things people should know about or do in Northwest Arkansas:
Lake Atlanta – walk – run – ride bikes
Lake Fayetteville – walk – run – ride bikes
The food across from Lewis and Clark at Lake Fayetteville
Try the taco shops from Taqueria Mexico, Taqueria Michoacana, Taqueria Guanajuato
Devils Den – Hike
Hawksbill Crag – Hike
Bike trails that go from Bentonville to Fayetteville
Eat Slim’s Chicken
Go to a concert at the AMP