Interview with Javier Garcia Penya, November 29, 2009

Project: Hispanic Heritage in Kentucky Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

He came from Barcelona, where he met his American girlfriend. The situation in Spain was difficult and universities weren't always open as these were very difficult times. He and his girlfriend chose to move to the United States and go to Murray State University in Kentucky. He talks about his immigration to the United States where he got married and got started at Murray State on a student visa. He talks about receiving aid once he was married and established. He speaks of the differences in universities in Spain compared to the United States. He says it was difficult to learn in Spain because there were difficulties in getting to class and obtaining textbooks. He says he had to have various jobs in Spain due to the hard times in Spain that affected the job market. He talks about his move to Texas after having started in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He describes the project he worked on in Austin, Texas, a series about the Mexican-American culture. He talks about his move from Austin to Lexington to work for a friend that had moved to Lexington. He talks about his job as a teacher with the Fayette County schools. He feels that his return to Lexington was easier and talks about that experience. He talks about leaving the Fayette County schools because he needed change. He speaks of his experience with the Hispanic community when there were very few, as well as his experience now that the community has now grown. He also discusses the differences between schools in Spain and in the United States. He talks about teaching Spanish to Spanish speakers because a good portion of the Hispanic community did not have a good education. He discusses his view on maintaining Spanish while maintaining English. He talks about the two groups he finds in the community: those who want nothing to do with their Hispanic heritage and those who want to learn more. He talks about his views on learning English as a person who does not speak the language. He feels that what is needed are more programs but there is a lack of funding. He also talks about the term Hispanic being used as an umbrella term for people of Spanish speaking countries. He talks about teaching cultural exchange in his class. He has his classes do presentations for other classes about Hispanic culture. He talks about the work that he requires his classes to do for the Hispanic community. He feels that many of the parents of his students will not contribute because they don't speak the language and because some (Hispanics) are illegal aliens. The biggest obstacle he has found is getting them to share their culture. He talks about the racism in Lexington in the early years and how the economic boom helped when there was an influx of Hispanic immigrants. He feels that the usual group of people who already don't like other cultures are the only ones that have a problem with the immigrants, but that is to be expected. He talks about the types of immigrants that have arrived and that have influenced Lexington differently. He talks about the tendency of the lower class to stick together, forming neighborhoods like those we find here. He talks about his experience with the differences between people are in Spain and Kentucky/the United States. He feels that the Hispanic culture, of all the countries that the community is made up of, is being absorbed by the population of Kentucky. He also talks about how his children learned Spanish and English.

Interview Accession

2009oh254_hhk002

Interviewee Name

Javier Garcia Penya

Interviewer Name

Silvia Roig Martinez

Interview Date

2009-11-29

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Penya, Javier Garcia Interview by Silvia Roig Martinez. 29 Nov. 2009. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Penya, J.G. (2009, November 29). Interview by S. R. Martinez. Hispanic Heritage in Kentucky Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Penya, Javier Garcia, interview by Silvia Roig Martinez. November 29, 2009, Hispanic Heritage in Kentucky Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7w3r0pvt62


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