Jin-Ya Huang

BREAK BREAD, BREAK BORDERS

Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Photo by Brian Maschino
  • Photo: Brian Maschino
  • Photo: James Coreas
  • Photo: James Coreas
  • Photo: James Coreas
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Break Bread, Break Borders is a social justice cultural initiative, designed to create opportunities and provide support for refugees and immigrants in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area. The goals of this project include creating spaces for women and their families to express and embrace their cultural heritage and identity with pride by sharing their knowledge around food at a pop-up dinner events that will also include spaces for conversations, sharing of recipes and information about the participants’ cultural heritage. Working in partnership with the noted NGO, Make Art with Purpose collaborating with local non-profit immigrant and refugees programs, whose mission of supporting, educating, and empowering multicultural families aligns with our goal. Currently, we are looking to build a coalition of partners that will support the empowerment of this underserved population in our community. In a nutshell, the project will include workshops where the clients will select recipes and stories that illustrate their culinary heritages and a day of cooking/sharing of food with the larger DFW community.

 

By documenting the cooking process, we want to highlight a role that is traditionally overlooked and educate the refugee families and help them integrate to their new community. This art project aims to address the idea of self-worth and make learning important. The funds from these dinner events will provide cooking, language, and life skill classes as action tools for community outreach. By associating a face with the food, and beginning a dialogue, we will start the conversation for clients preparing the food and people consuming it. The clients will realize, regardless of language barrier, their food and cooking becomes the ambassador to their race, and speaks the universal language of culture. We will conduct pre-project and post-project interviews and ask the clients to start thinking about how cooking for the community affected their view of the new world, what they want out of the experience and measure the positive impact to see the change of attitude of the clients from the cooking activities, the pop-up events, and the learning journeys have benefited this underserved population. We want to educate them, and the diners, on these ideas as food for thought from both ends of the spectrum.

 

Our experience with art project like this creates storytelling that help break down barriers, and can be successful in communicating core concepts through an interactive experience. I want this project to benefit the clients, engender them to their goals in their second life, and further affect our mission through sharing the refugees’ stories to expand potential partnership to help this population in the surrounding community and abroad. Knowing art can create such in shift in the world and that we can be a part of that positive social change, has propelled me to want to participate more in our community, just as my mom did. This is a heartfelt labor of love, for me and my family, to be able to continue and honor her legacy