How Denise Soler Cox is Diversifying Latino Stories Through Project Enye

How Denise Soler Cox is Diversifying Latino Stories Through Project Enye

Growing up, Denise Soler Cox never really felt like she fit in wholly anywhere. At four years old, the Puerto Rican left familiar faces, voices and cultures when her family moved from the Bronx to the suburbs of Westchester County. There, she was the only Latina in the neighborhood, and that was a struggle. The kids teased her, often calling her “spic,” but, strangely, those same schoolchildren influenced her. Soon, her Spanish wasn’t the same, and she had secured the “gringa” nickname in her family.

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What was she, she wondered, the “spic” who brought platanos in her lunchbox, or the “gringa” who couldn’t carry a conversation with her Spanish-speaking abuelos?

Her story isn’t unique to U.S. Latinos. In fact, most of us can share our own “ni de aquí, ni de allá” stories. But while this sense of unbelonging, shame and identity insecurity is felt by so many of us, the actual experience is pretty lonely.

Soler Cox wants to change that. Through Project Enye, a multimedia documentary project she co-founded in 2013 focused on sharing the diverse stories of first-generation, U.S.-born Latinos with at least one parent from a Latin American country, she hopes to empower and ease the anxieties of the 16 million Enyes living in the country.

Tell us about Project Enye.

Before I can talk about Project Enye, I have to explain what an Enye (ñ) is. Enyes are  first-generation, American-born Latinos who have at least one parent from a Spanish-speaking country. Project Enye, then, is a multi-platform documentary project about these Enyes. Through video interviews, we share cultural and familial stories to build community among Enyes and to help heal them from the shame they often feel for not being enough of any of their identities. We are multi-platform, so we share 3-minute video micro-docs on the site, along with podcasts and blogs, and post 15-second stories on Instagram and other social networks. We also have a film, still in post-production, that extends on this message. We are taking that documentary on the road in a country-wide tour.

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