JoDee Robinson, Interview by Marina López, 25 July 2013

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JoDee Robinson, Interview by Marina López, 25 July 2013
López, Marina
Robinson, JoDee
JoDee Robinson (b.1969), a child of Cuban immigrants, was born in New York and grew up in New Jersey. Her father owned a restaurant that was at the center of family life. There, Robinson learned to work, made friends, and met her future husband, Richard Robinson. In the interview, Robinson tells about her childhood and teen years as a first-generation American child, and reflects on how their parent’s background, language, and culture colored her experiences. She married an Irish man and soon they realized had very different expectations about roles and responsibilities in the family. Soon after marrying, the Robinsons decided to move south. They lived for a while in Miami, Florida, but finally got established in Summerville, South Carolina. Robinson worked as an interpreter at Midland Park Elementary and did volunteer work with a Hispanic Methodist Pastor. She experienced firsthand the needs of the children and families and was moved to give a creative and positive answer. With that goal, the Robinsons created the nonprofit organization, Nuevos Caminos. In 2011, they were deeply involved in challenging the South Carolina Immigration Law SB 20. Robinson says she was outraged because she realized her own father, a Cuban-American with a strong accent, was at risk to be singled out, stopped and detained if the law passed with full force. In the interview, she also talks about the racism she has encountered while living in South Carolina. Descripción: Hija de inmigrantes cubanos, JoDee Robinson (1969) nació en Nueva York y se crio en Nueva Jersey. Su padre era dueño de un restaurante que fue el centro de la vida familiar. Allí, Robinson aprendió a trabajar, hizo amigos y conoció a su futuro marido, Richard Robinson. Robinson reflexiona acerca de sus años de infancia y adolescencia como hija de inmigrantes y explica como la historia de sus padres, su cultura y lenguaje matizaron todas estas vivencias tempranas. Al poco tiempo de casados, los Robinson decidieron mudarse al sur. Residieron por un tiempo en Miami, Florida pero finalmente se radicaron en Summerville, Carolina del Sur. Robinson trabajó como intérprete en la escuela Midland Park e hizo trabajo voluntario con un pastor de la Iglesia Metodista. Caminando los barrios fue testigo de las necesidades de los niños y las familias. Así nació su determinación de dar una repuesta apropiada y para hacerlo fundó junto a su esposo la organización sin fines de lucro, Nuevos Caminos. En 2011, los Robinson participaron activamente en la recusación de la ley de inmigración de Carolina del Sur SB 20. Robinson cuenta que el proyecto de ley la afectó de manera personal porque se dio cuenta de que su propio padre, un cubano-americano que habla inglés con acento extranjero, corría el riesgo de ser detenido y maltratado si la ley se aprobaba en toda su extensión. Finalmente, cuenta sobre el racismo que ella ve en Carolina del Sur y cuales son sus planes para el futuro.
The Citadel Oral History Program
Contributing Institution:
The Citadel Archives & Museum
Media Type:
Oral Histories
Topical Subject:
Latin Americans--Southern States, Hispanic Americans--Southerns States, Immigrants--Southern States Social Conditions, Community leadership
Geographic Subject:
New Jersey, South Carolina
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.
Las Voces del Lowcountry
S.C. County:
Charleston County (S.C.)
Internet Media Type:
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.