Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement 2017: In Country

Orientation | In Country | Follow-Up

Day One

The first day of travel, September 11, 2017, brought the Go Global NC Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement 2017 delegation of law enforcement officers together from Charlotte, Wilmington, Durham, and Orange County with the destination of Mexico City, by way of Dallas, Texas. The short bus ride from the airport to further into Mexico City began to open the officers’ eyes before they reached their first destination. The unfamiliar traffic patterns, lack of space between buildings, and the mix of classes in the street caught their attention en route to their first meal in Mexico.

After everyone settled into the hotel, Lynda Martinez del Campo of Understand Mexico introduced the delegation to Mexico’s history and its influence on the present. Among the topics covered: the importance of food, the history of the metro system, Indian culture, and being polite-Mexican style.

Lynda continued building the Go Global NC Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement 2017 delegation’s understanding of the history of Mexico with a tour of Chapultepec Castle. The castle is surrounded by Chapultepec Park, an area that draws tourists and residents alike and features food stands during the day, much like Central Park in New York. The park is often referred to as the “lungs of the city” for its greenery in the center of a developed urban area. Spaniards built the castle in the 18th century as a retreat for viceroys, who were the governing leaders who had local oversight of Mexico on Spain’s behalf. Over time, Chapultepec Castle became the official residence for Mexico’s heads of state before it was converted in 1944 to a museum about Mexico’s history. Thanks to Lynda, who was once a docent for the castle, the Go Global NC delegation was allowed to enjoy the entire palace without any other visitors present.

Day Two

The Go Global NC Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement 2017 delegation began their second day of travel with meeting Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Relations Director General Adjunto (deputy director) of the Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (Institute of Mexicans Abroad), Jorge Alfredo González de la Vega Otero. The director and his colleague, Rafael Peralta Zayas, shared information about the organization’s programs for Mexican immigrants in the United States. The officers also had the opportunity to ask questions about situations they face in their daily police work and how the ministry might be involved in solutions.

After leaving the ministry, the delegation toured the National Palace and Metropolitan Cathedral. The historic center of Mexico City was especially crowded due to preparations for Mexico’s annual Independence Day celebrations. On September 15, the president of Mexico appears on a balcony of the National Palace and performs the “Grito Mexicano,” a patriotic chant that reflects the original speech which inspired the independence movement.

In the evening, the group experienced a unique Mexican cultural activity: lucha libre. Partipants agreed it is a night they won’t forget. Read more about the history of lucha libre or click on the audio player below.

Day Three

The Go Global NC Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement 2017 delegation left Mexico City for the state of Guanajuato and more specifically, the city of San Miguel de Allende. The destination: Centro de Readaptación Social (CERESO)-San Miguel de Allende – a different approach to prison. The inmates of of the center are provided with education opportunities, job skills that will help them upon release, mental health evaluation and therapy, and materials and space to create crafts that can be sold at the centers for social reintegration. The money inmates make can be used to support their families; the center stresses the importance of connection with family. The goal is to give inmates skills that can be used on their first day out of the center. While touring the facility, law enforcement officers found it interesting and different to see that inmates were free to move around areas like the workshop and exercise yard without handcuffs.

After leaving the center, the delegation headed to a small hacienda in the town of Trancas. The Hacienda Las Trancas has a long history, officially becoming a hacienda in 1709. It was restored by its current owners, North Carolinians, in 2003. The setting was perfect for authentic Mexican food and an introduction to the work of the nonprofit Fundación Comunitaria del Bajío made by Adriana Cortés Jiménez, the organization’s executive director. The nonprofit, a partner of Go Global NC’s for sixteen years, promotes community development, supports access to and building of infrastructure, and other basic services and opportunities for the community. The foundation has been a valuable partner to Go Global NC and helps facilitate parts of the Latino Initiative programs.

A pre-Hispanic music group, Maxorhu, performed at the hacienda in the evening, educating the delegation about the handmade instruments they play as well the history behind the music of Mexico. The music group is coming to North Carolina in 2018 to perform.

Day Four

The fourth day of the Go Global NC Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement 2017 program brought a study in contrasts. In the morning, the delegation of officers visited C5i, a state command center in Silao. “C5i” stands for: Control, Command, Communication, Computer, and Quality Center (Sistema Estatal de Coordinación, Comando, Control, Comunicaciones, Cómputo e Inteligencia). The state-of-the-art facility monitors emergency response efforts, public safety, traffic, National Guard, and other services. By bringing the services together under one roof, coordination increases between the different entities. C5i employees led the delegation on a tour and even demonstrated their fingerprinting technology by scanning the prints of Captain Daniel Edwards of the Durham Police Department. The North Carolina officers also saw a few of the vehicles that are used for law enforcement in the region and talked with Mexican officers like themselves.

Watch the short video in Spanish below for a look inside the center.

After leaving the advanced and modern C5i, the group visited the humble community of Taretán in the municipality of Irapuato. The community is part of a project of Fundacion Comunitaria del Bajio. On this day, the families in Taretán offered to host the delegation, showing the officers around their community and homes, and talking candidly about the challenges they face from lack of infrastructure resources, limited access to jobs, and community members forced to leave their children behind to emigrate to the United States to earn money to support themselves.

With much to think about, the officers returned to the hacienda and were treated to a performance of traditional dances performed by local Trancas families. The dance group formed as an effort to keep the children in the community from falling into drugs and gangs. The dancers even presented the officers with souvenirs to remember Mexico: an amazingly large sombrero with Go Global NC written on it and a smaller hat for group leader Lorena Patterson.

Day Five

On the morning of the fifth day, officers from San Luis de la Paz gave a presentation to the Go Global NC Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement 2017 delegation about their role in the community and the challenge of building trust with their constituents. The San Luis de la Paz officers then presented the Go Global NC delegates with badges that had been worn by officers during duty in the small town, a high honor that greatly touched the North Carolina officers.

The delegation met and immediately formed a comradery with officers in San Luis de la Paz during a ride-along. The North Carolina officers noticed their peers in Mexico were heavily armed, worked longer shifts, and had a deep concern that their own families would be in jeopardy because of their role in law enforcement; but the 30-minute ride-along also established their similarities as law enforcement professionals. Captain David Addison of Durham said the ride-along made him realize, “No matter where you are, there are commonalities between officers that can’t be escaped, and they outnumber the differences.”

After the ride-along, the delegation then met with the mayor of the San Luis de la Paz, giving them a different look at the government structure in a small town. The mayor greeted them warmly and discussed potential future partnerships.

The evening brought an opportunity to relax and celebrate Independence Day in the town where the movement for independence began – Dolores Hidalgo. The officers got a front row seat to the enthusiastic revelers, witnessed how Mexican firework shows are done, and danced to music from local bands.

Though not filmed by one of our participants, the video below captures the excitement and sounds of the festivities.

Day Six

In the morning, the Go Global NC Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement 2017 delegation traveled towards the final city on the itinerary – the city of Guanajuato – with cultural experience stops along the way. In Santa Rosa de Lima, the delegates saw homemade pottery unique to the small village. They then visited Conservas 1998, a cooperative of five women who started a jam, candy, and snack business using local ingredients. They now have multiple products and ship across the world.

A stop just before Guanajuato City took participants’ breaths away. The tourist overlook was busy but was worth the traffic – the view is a prime location for pictures and selfies.

After an afternoon with the opportunity to explore the city on their own, officers were treated to a musical tour in the evening. The callejoneada is a traditional promenade from colonial times in the city. Bards tell the history of the city as well as anecdotes with humor, music, and a lot of fun.

Day Seven

The final full day in the city, with the morning free, gave Go Global NC Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement 2017 participants the opportunity to select their preferred experiences in the morning. One group went to the local market where trinkets, homemade crafts, meat, produce, and other local food favorites are sold.

In the afternoon, small groups were paired with host families that represented a more prosperous side of families in Guanajuato. One host family had both a background in architecture and law enforcement; one host was a former judge. They all took time to give delegates a tour and answer questions about daily life in the area.

That evening, the delegation met for a final debrief and discussion session, processing all that they had seen, heard, and learned over the entire week. The officers all noticed the warmth and hospitality from Mexican hosts who often didn’t have much; the difficulties of class differences in both Mexico and the United States; and the differences between their expectations and the reality of the country and its people.

Day Eight

With the final morning in Mexico, the Go Global NC Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement 2017 delegation was given a presentation by Dr. Miguel Vilches Hinojsa from the Universidad de Guanjuato. As a researcher on immigration, he offered background on the causes of migration, migration from Mexico and Central America, difficulties immigrants face during their route to the United States, and the personal stories of some migrants. The fascinating lecture gave the delegates much to think about during the journey back to Charlotte, Raleigh, and Mexico.

Global Teachers Germany 2017: Day Eight

Orientation | Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day Seven | Day Eight | Day Nine | Follow-Up

Day Eight

Day eight started with a sobering tour of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. Located outside of Munich, Dachau was the first concentration camp opened in Germany and was intended for political prisoners. The classification of prisoners changed in 1935 as new groups, including LGBT individuals and immigrants, were sent to the camp. The camp was liberated on April 29, 1945 and opened as a memorial site in 1965. Approximately 800,000 visit the memorial site each year. The Global Teachers delegation found the visit “powerful and emotionally challenging” and unforgettable.

Shane Dagenhart looked at the experience through a history teacher’s lens.

As a history teacher I always try and bring the past to life. I always try and put myself back into historical situations to have a better understanding of the events to help teach my kids. As I did that today, my heart broke. There were moments that I didn’t want to look back at this history. How could human beings do this to others?

North Buncombe High School teacher Ben Graham reflects on the emotions of not only traveling to Dachau with Global Teachers, but the feelings of traveling over all that he wants to bring back to his students.

In the afternoon, the delegation visited the Deutsches Museum, a museum that focuses on science and technology that hopes to “inspire people to play an active role in shaping the future.

They even found a bit of North Carolina in the museum!

Global Teachers Germany 2017: Day Seven

Orientation | Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day Seven | Day Eight | Day Nine | Follow-Up

Day Seven

The delegation left Freiburg and headed east to Munich, the capital of Bavaria and third-largest German city. There they visited BMW, where they learned about the the company’s apprenticeship program.

BMW’s approach:

Olivia Hall, Assistant Vice Principal for Salemburg Elementary School and Roseboro Elementary School, was amazed at the independence of the apprentices, and German school children in general.

Sweet sixteen.

Thanks to my freshly printed driver’s license, I was free to travel on my own for the first time without my parents. I imagined I was just on the cusp of becoming an adult. I was discovering my identity and making plans for the future.

I remember these days of newfound independence and knowingly laugh at all that I had yet to learn.

Yet, my tour guide today, a young apprentice at the BMW factory, shared how he applied for the program while attending Realschule (the upper vocational school) and moved almost 100 miles across Germany to live alone in an apartment at the ripe age of sixteen.

This is not unusual in German culture.

In Germany, independence and personal responsibility is taught from a young age and is part of the social fabric of the country. When visiting the primary school a few days earlier, I noticed a sign instructing kindergarten parents to kiss their students good-bye at the school door. I discovered young German schoolchildren walk or ride their bikes to school unaccompanied by an adult. In conversation with one of our guides, she shared how she studied abroad alone in South America at just seventeen.

At BMW, the company trains young adults and trusts them to perform well. The Junior Company alone netted over a million dollars last year by selling marketing products, and a team of apprentices helped design a new vehicle model that will be in production next year. Throughout the program, which lasts two years or more, students cycle through many job titles as they learn their strengths and hone their talents.

BMW trains future employees and fulfills their social responsibility, all while the school and community benefit. Time is spent at both the company and the school, and trainers ensure students receive all the support they need.

Today, however, no trainers were in sight. Instead, the apprentices lead the presentations, the tour, and discussion.

Our entire group was impressed.

As one presenter stated, “Many students enter the program at the age of sixteen and are very timid. However, when the apprentices finish the program, you do not recognize them. They have grown into proud, young professionals.”

I have always believed that young adults are capable of doing great things when expectations are high. Maybe embedding this type of training would allow American teens to expect more than a driver’s license on their sweet sixteen.

Anthony Johnson shares his video documenting Day 6 and 7.

Go Global NC Days 6 & 7 (JohnsonvilleWorldTour) from Anthony Johnson on Vimeo.

Global Teachers Germany 2017: Day Six

Orientation | Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day Seven | Day Eight | Day Nine | Follow-Up

Day Six

The day began with a presentation by the Center for Teacher Education at the University of Freiburg. The university was founded in 1457 and is the fifth-oldest university in Germany. During their time at the university, they also toured the University of Education.

Megan Petrizzi of Efland-Cheeks Global Elementary School had this to say about what they learned from presenter Sybille Schick:

It is worth reflecting that no system is perfect — we may have some things to learn from Germans (I am blown away by the timeliness and self-driven responsibility of schools and students here) but they can also learn from us (perhaps our differentiation and inclusion styles in the majority of American classrooms). Read more.

The delegation then continued their education on Germany’s sustainability efforts with a presentation from Freiburg’s Department of Ecology about the intersection of ecology and education.

The group ended the day in St. Peter, a small village in the Black Forest, which is among the most energy-efficient villages in Germany. The village produces its own energy via solar, wind, and water energy, as well as other renewable technologies.

Marydith Beasley, first grade teacher at Pathways Elementary School, reflects on Germany’s sustainability efforts.

Global Teachers Germany 2017: Day Five

Orientation | Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day Seven | Day Eight | Day Nine | Follow-Up

Day Five

Another school visit started the delegation’s second day in Stuttgart. This time, the school was Eschbach-Gymnasium Stuttgart-Freiberg. While in the United States, gymnasium generally means a place for physical education, in Germany it’s a type of secondary school. Eschbach-Gymnasium is renowned for its use of technology in the classroom and for its teaching of STEM-topics. In addition to a tour of the school and the opportunity to sit in on classes, the teachers also presented to students about North Carolina and have conversations about the differences in the educational approaches.

Carla McSwain of South Stanly High School and Shanna Mustin of Andrews High School shared their thoughts on what they witnessed:

Our visit to Eschbach-Gymnasium Stuttgart-Frieburg, an ocean and continent away, revealed that teenagers are more alike than different. They dress alike, they giggle at goofy adults, and many shy away from speaking in front of groups. But clearly there is a fascination with Americans — as evidenced by an incident in the classroom we visited. Read more.

After a few hours at the school, the delegation left for Freiburg to visit Vauban, a well-known energy-efficient neighborhood, and tour it with Innovation Academy E.V., a nonprofit organization that is recognized as an official project of the United Nation’s World Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. the organization gave the teachers a personal tour of the area.

Jeanne Morris of Valley Springs Middle School and Mary Faulk of Jonathan Valley Elementary School share their view of trust’s role in Germany’s schools.