We had the good fortune of connecting with Sorayda Diaz Leon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sorayda, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk is something worth taking. I would not be where I am if I had not taken many risks in my life. For starters, I am an immigrant, I took the risk of leaving the unknown and going for the uncertain; I left my journalism career in my country, Mexico, and moved to a new way of life and a whole new career working at the YMCA. With VozEs, I am taking a new risk of retaking again my career in a different way, as a personal project. With it, I am also asking immigrants to take the risk of exploring their talents and following their dreams, to unpack them, some of us kept them in the luggage we brought to this country for a long time. Is time to fully unpack who we are.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
VozEs Expresion Cultural is a Hispanic Cultural Magazine made for immigrant creatives. We want to offer a platform for all the cultural and art expressions, we want to free their dreams in this country that has opened its doors to us but has not fully understood that we are more than a weird accent, we are poetry, literature, photography, music and and immense cultural richness, With VozEs we want to show all the positive we as immigrants have, all the shared experiences that come with the distance and solitude and transform into art.
I am proud of this project because in a year I have connected with creatives in different places of the United States, some people that are just trying to start their art career, some already with a vast trajectory, but all with the same shared desire to express what we are as a community and share their story with VozEs.
It has not been easy doing this alone and working a full time job on the side and also being a single mother, but it has been an exciting project. The main challenge definitely has been dedicating time to it and finding ways to promote it, while at the same time trying to be productive employee and a patient mom.
I learned that when you do something you love, it doesn’t matter how long it takes to achieve your goals, as long as you are working on it even if it’s for a little bit of time every day, you will eventually get to where you want to get and see the rewards.
I am still taking the first steps on this project and I want to show that we care and we value our stories, and that I feel proud to belong in the Immigrant Latino Community and we want to be here for them to share their talent.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely take them to the mountains where I first got when I moved to North Carolina. We would take a 2 hour trip from Charlotte to somewhere in the Linville area for a couple of days we would be camping and going hiking and exploring; having some carne asadas and drinks while catching up. We would definitely go to Grandfather Mountain. Obviously if is in the winter, no camping, and snowboarding or tubbing. We would dedicate another day in Asheville, and go eat at Tupelo Honey so they could try delicious southern food.
Back in Charlotte we would go have breakfast to one of my favorite spots, Flying Biscuit, then for a walk uptown, but we need to definitely stop one day to buy tortillas and carnitas at La Lupitas and get back home to relax and have a nice meal. Of course we would have to be out to one of the many breweries around.
I would take them to see Freedom Park, and some of the hiking trails around as well.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without all the collaborators, the artists, creatives that have shared their inspiring work in VozEs, the project would not exist. They make the content of the website, they are the creatives. I just offer the platform and share their stories and talent.
I could go far back to the start of my journey as an immigrant in this country and I would not have space to thank everyone along the way. I’ve had a lot of people that have helped me get where I am today. My YMCA family that gave me a job and a safe space for my son, my mom always present and everyday making sure I am fine, my dad that helped me when I first moved to the U.S… there has been a lot of people. A lot. I am grateful for each one of them.
photo in poster number 2: Edmundo Pacheco