Ethnic Studies in Holland, Michigan: Examining the Impact and Implications of Holland’s Hispanic Population

Faculty Mentor(s)

Professor Alex Galarza

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Holland has transformed from a small, historically Dutch community to one containing many different ethnicities. One such transformation occurred in the early-twentieth century with the arrival of migrant Hispanic workers from Latin America. As the community grew, so did its presence through festivals such as Tulipanes and bilingual masses like those at St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church. As a whole, the the cultural history of the Hispanic community continually manifests itself in Holland’s industry, education, community, and religion. Research projects such as Greg Oltmann’s “The Hispanics of Holland: An Examination of the Origins and Development of the Hispanic Community in Holland, Michigan” provides a small insight to the history and current impact this community is having in Holland. By exploring and analyzing the rich history of the Hispanic community in Holland, we hope to come to a better understanding of the impact of Hispanic culture on Holland and share this impact with the community itself. Our research will showcase the significant impact that the Hispanic community has had on Holland’s education systems, industry, and culture through a documentary. We are compiling our research and interviews into a documentary that will be available on the Digital Holland website to act as a "looking glass" into the perspectives of Holland's Hispanic community. Through interviews with members of the Holland Hispanic community, this project explores the facets of a community that has been largely underrepresented on the Digital Holland website thus far. Finally, the project allows us to continue a local dialogue about Holland’s established Hispanic community on Hope College’s campus.

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