During my sophomore year of college I spent a semester creating a documentary. The course required that we make a research project of any media type that pertained to Holland, Michigan because the projects were going to be featured on the Digital Holland website: a digital archive all about Holland. After perusing the site I noticed only two brief mentions of the Hispanic/Latino population of Holland, and these mentions were in reference to one person of influence and a small annual festival that the Latino Alliance United for Progress (LAUP) hosts each year called Tulipanes. I was shocked that the Hispanic/Latino community was grossly underrepresented on the site in comparison to the extensive narrative of Dutch heritage, so I began my research into the origins and history of Hispanics/Latinos in Holland. According to the US 2010 census, those who identify as Hispanic or Latino are 24.5% of Holland’s population, and this population has been here and growing since as early as the late nineteenth century. Realizing that there was such a noticeable lack of recognition, my group and I decided to make a documentary that featured seven members of the Holland community who spoke to the Hispanic presence in Holland, their challenges here, and their many successes and contributions.
As a side note, I had never made a documentary before so this is certainly far from a polished video. Additionally, we chose to use the term “Hispanic” meaning “native Spanish-speaking” to refer to the population rather than “Latino” meaning “from Latin America” because we wanted to include within our scope those who are from the Caribbean who speak Spanish and not assume members’ ethnicities.