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Watch the full episode of GSNC/NH PBS's The State We’re In.
The 2020 census numbers tell a new story about who calls the Granite State home. While the state is about 90% white, a new generation of Americans is gaining in numbers. Those who identify as Hispanic make up around 4% of our population - and many of those individuals are young. They are the future of New Hampshire. Oscar Villacis (executive creative director and radio host), Jasmine Torres-Allen (producer and host) and Megan Villacis (director of marketing and social media) join the State We’re In host Melanie Plenda to talk about their work with First Gen American Multimedia.
Jasmine Torres-Allen: Production was a lot of fun because we got to collaborate with other first-generation Americans who understand where we are in our community and how we represent ourselves. It was easy to work with a production team that understands where we come from, what our language is, what our culture is like. It made it easier to produce Flavors of Our Neighbors because it was something so close to our hearts. Flavors of Our Neighbors was a great project because it helped highlight these wonderful Latina entrepreneurs that have been in the community for a long time, sometimes decades. This was the first time that a lot of individuals felt comfortable enough to approach these restaurants that they've never tried before; it brought a different market to these restaurants that could potentially give them a boost, especially with so much happening with COVID-19.
Melanie Plenda: Megan, how big a role does social media play in your work? And can you talk about your reach and the reaction of your audience to it?
Megan Villacis: With social media - whether it's Facebook, Instagram, etc. - that's how we'll connect with our audience. We've been able to connect with the Nashville community and beyond; we have people from part of Puerto Rico listening to our shows; all of the shows are live streamed, and it allows us to communicate with them in the comments. On one of the videos about the Flavors of Our Neighbors, we reached over 12,000 people organically without any promotion - it's all been word of mouth.
Melanie Plenda: What lessons are you hoping to share with other young people in the granite state?
Oscar Villacis: I want to inspire the younger demographic. A lot of individuals in our community don't really feel comfortable approaching other individuals because they feel like they won't be well received. But we notice with a lot of great support from wonderful platforms like yourselves and organizations, we've noticed that an avenue is open and accepting for all. What we want to do is channel that avenue for other individuals, to be able to say that there's resources and opportunities, let us show you how through our experiences and through our lessons. If we can guide you in the right direction to make it a little bit easier, then we'll do so. We're here to inspire, we're here to accept and motivate the younger demographic within our community and other individuals that are not quite sure but have a great passion, but don't know what path to take.
Melanie Plenda: What are your plans and hopes for the future?
Jasmine Torres-Allen: I'm hoping that we can inspire more young people to get involved and be part of this platform, and hopefully inspire more entrepreneurs and connect the community with the resources that are available to them.
Oscar Villacis: This is a platform that half minority owned half women own. To be able to expand that platform and inspire women businesses owners or entrepreneurs, or people that have a passion that want to put it into a profession. We want to keep that open airway for more inclusion and to educate individuals that don't know the most important thing that I've learned throughout this whole experience; we stepped into a radio station that didn't have much diversity, and now we have people reaching out to us. A gentleman emailed us to say “I never knew about these stories. I have a completely new perspective.” We'll keep on doing that.
Megan Villacis: I hope to continue to show entrepreneurs the power of social media; it's one of the most powerful tools to utilize. A lot of businesses may not be using it, or they're not using it in the proper way. We want to continue to educate them on that, now and in the future. Social media is not going anywhere.
These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.
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The State We're In is produced in partnership with the Granite State News Collaborative which is funded in part by the Solutions Journalism Network and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. Production assistance is provided by the students and staff of the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication at Franklin Pierce Unversity in Rindge, NH.
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