Sunday, May 28, 2006

Mexicans and Americans

Title: MATT.org
Type of website: Nonprofit organizational website
Excellent source of...: News and information about the intersecting culture and issues between Mexico and the United States.

If you are reading this blog, this website will probably be of at least passing interest. It seems that some people with an interest in both countries have decided to be proactive in looking for solutions that plague the relationship between them. It claims to be not supported by any political party or interest, but by "bicultural people with family in both countries".

The website doesn't suggest any solutions, but it gives us, its readers, the chance to talk about their views and suggest their ideas. There are online polls and discussion forums.

Every month, the website plans to present three different aspects of the relationship to be discussed and debated. This month, for instance, the three issues are:

-Advertisers wooing the Hispanic market. Is it encouraging immigration from Mexico to the US?
-Walls and their effectiveness throughout history
-The Minutemen: should they have the right to watch the border?

For each issue, there is an explanation of the different questions around the issue, with some facts and figures. There is a poll to get a feel for how the readers feel about the issue. And there is a discussion forum on each subject where registered readers can weigh in with more detailed views.

A unique feature, that I hope will be used and contributed to, is a place to "Tell Your Story". To quote the website: "Real people with heart-wrenching tales of struggle and hope are the spirit of ongoing immigration between our two countries. Those inspiring experiences continue to touch many lives everyday but still remain largely unheard. Until now. Where does your inspiration come from? Share 'Your Story' and inspire others to do the same."

I am really interested to read these. Awhile back, we read about a guy who was interviewed at the border about why he was risking his life and spending his money to get into the United States. He was a young man of working age from a town called Izamal, which is about 30 miles outside of Merida. He said he was a construction worker and that he couldn't find work here. This made us laugh (and think) as there is so much construction going on in and around Merida right now, the gringos are having a hard time finding people to work. On top of that, last year's hurricane season created such a wealth of construction opportunity on the Mayan Riviera that workers were streaming in from all over Mexico to work there. So why does this guy feel like he has to travel thousands of miles for an opportunity to work? We suspect that the whole story is not told. We suspect that people are still going to the United States based a lot on tradition and stories, and not on reality on the ground.

I look forward to participating in the discussions on this website and hope that some of the readers of this blog will join in as well.

I also want to acknowledge that this is a new website. It doesn't have a track record yet, and as we all know, many good ideas get neglected or never get off the ground. I have great hopes for Matt.org... vamos a ver!

1 comment:

alisa said...

it's a delight to discover what other u.s. citizens are doing here in mexico, and creating a forum like this for discussion is worthy of applause. i'll keep reading!