Lydia Cotton, Interview by Marina López, 31 May 2013

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Title:
Lydia Cotton, Interview by Marina López, 31 May 2013
Interviewer:
López, Marina
Interviewee:
Cotton, Lydia
Date:
2013-05-31
Description:
Lydia Cotton was born in Puerto Rico in 1962. She moved to the Lowcountry in the 1980s. A hard-working woman, her life changed dramatically in 2003 after surviving brain cancer. She was unable to maintain regular employment, but she was determined to make the best of her life. She concentrated her talents and energies on helping the growing Hispanic community in the City of North Charleston. Soon, she became the liaison between the Hispanic Community and the Department of Police of the City of North Charleston. Thanks to this partnership and strong community work, the level of crime in the city reduced significantly. Cotton explains how she has built trust with the residents and authorities over the years and remembers how she and other community workers organized the first community meetings in Spanish in the City of North Charleston. Cotton reflects about the need for community involvement and participation in civic issues, how she understands leadership, and talks proudly about the volunteer work done by a group of Hispanic residents called “Dame la Mano.” Finally, she tells about her last project, a weekly radio program in Spanish that she sees as a new channel to inform, educate, and help people to access the resources they need. Descripción: Lydia Cotton nació en Puerto Rico en 1962 y en los años ochenta se estableció en el Lowcountry. Independiente y trabajadora, su vida cambió drásticamente en el año 2003 cuando le diagnosticaron un tumor cerebral. Afortunadamente se recuperó, pero quedó incapacitada para trabajar en forma regular. Desde entonces concentró sus talentos y energía en ayudar a la creciente comunidad hispana de la Ciudad de North Charleston. Pronto se convirtió en intermediaria y mediadora entre la comunidad hispana y el Departamento de Policía de la Ciudad de North Charleston. Gracias a este trabajo colaborativo el nivel de crimen en la ciudad se redujo notablemente. Cotton explica la naturaleza de su trabajo y cómo fue el proceso de ganarse la confianza de los vecinos y las autoridades. También recuerda como ella y otros trabajadores de la ciudad organizaron las primeras reuniones comunitarias en español en la Ciudad de North Charleston. Explica cuál es su concepción de liderazgo y discurre acerca de la importancia de la participación en temas cívicos. Habla con orgullo de un grupo de vecinos que han formado una organización sin fines de lucro llamada "Dame la mano". Finalmente, cuenta acerca de su nuevo proyecto “Hola Familia” un programa radial semanal y en español que busca informar y educar a la comunidad.
Collection:
The Citadel Oral History Program
Contributing Institution:
The Citadel Archives & Museum
Media Type:
Oral Histories
Topical Subject:
Latin Americans--Southern States, Immigrants--Southern States Social Conditions, Community leadership
Geographic Subject:
Puerto Rico, North Charleton (S.C.),South Carolina
Note:
This interview is part of “Las Voces of the Lowcountry” series. This project is designed to raise the profile of the Hispanic/Latinos who call the Lowcountry home and to promote a rational and humane conversation regarding immigration, education, and employment policies. The digital recordings and transcripts are part of The Citadel Oral History Program Collection at The Citadel Archives & Museum.
Language:
Spanish
Series:
Las Voces del Lowcountry
S.C. County:
Charleston County (S.C.)
Internet Media Type:
audio/mpeg
Digitization Specifications:
Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are .wav files.
Copyright Status Statement:
Copyright © The Citadel Archives & Museum.
Access Information:
For more information contact The Citadel Archives & Museum, Charleston, SC, 29409.