A community that successfully fought the construction of an ICE detention center. A woman learning of her Mexican heritage only as an adult. Issues of the upcoming 2020 census.
Those are just three of the episodes distributed in 2018 of WNIN’s bilingual ¿Qué Pasa, Midwest? podcast. Season three is underway, and in 2019, QPM will begin providing content to the CPB and Lilly Endowment-funded Indiana Regional Journalism Center.
Created in 2015 as a bilingual journalism project, QPM was re-launched in mid-2017 as part of the initial cohort of the CPB-funded Project Catapult with PRX. The goal for co-producers Paola Marizan and Mareea Thomas is to create a community of what they have termed “billennials”, or bilingual millennials in the Midwest.
Why? Because the sense of family central to their culture is largely missing for the scattered pockets of Latinx in the Midwest. Unlike Latinx on the coasts, where many languages are common, Midwesterners deal with a population that speaks primarily one language, is resistant to change and the people who bring it.
Among the first truly bilingual podcasts, QPM chose that way to communicate because the most important thoughts and the deepest feelings often do not translate directly into the other language. What was said is then paraphrased in the other language. Marizan is a gifted linguist. English-only speakers particularly seem to enjoy the smooth flow. The listeners tell us they enjoy the chance to learn more about another culture in this way.
Along with many of her billennial peers, host Paola Marizan does not consider herself a minority. She says, “I am an American citizen. I go to work. I pay taxes. I have a college education. I have a family. I am part of the majority population.”
We hope you enjoy listening to QPM episodes as much as we enjoy creating them. We ask for your support for the high honor of a RTDNA Kaleidoscope award.