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'Storymakers: Durham' Encountering Racism Before Making North Carolina Home

headshot of Roberto Nava
Courtesy of Ian McClerin

Over the past generation, North Carolina has been transformed by immigration. A state in which Latinos were once few and far between is now about 10 percent Latino.

In Durham, immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries now make up about one-sixth of the population. Leaders of the Latino community say discrimination is all too common - though it’s often experienced quietly.

This is the story of Roberto Nava, one of the citizen storytellers in our special collaborative project, Storymakers: Durham. Nava grew up in Mexico City until high school. When he saw his dad struggling with money, he asked a cousin if he could move to the United States. The cousin said yes, and Nava moved to North Carolina when he was 18 years old. Nava shared his story of finding work, encountering racism and discrimination and eventually making North Carolina his home.

WUNC is one of 15 stations across the country chosen to be a part of the innovative public media project called Localore: Finding America.  The project is being put together by the Association of Independents in Radio and is funded in large part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The project is produced by John Biewen, a producer with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and host of the Scene on Radio podcast. The project will explore the things that bring us together and divide us as a community, like race, class and faith.

Find out more and submit a written story of your own at

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