Film shows students how to discover their identity

By Gunner Young/reporter

Students and faculty discussed the issues involved in not being accepted in American society at a screening of “Being Enye” March 25 on NE Campus.

The film, created by Denise Soler Cox, is a 2015 documentary about the struggles first-generation immigrants have when growing up in America, not fitting in their parents’ culture or American culture.

An “ñ” or “Enye” is the name the film gives these first-generation Americans.

The origin of Enye is Hebrew, which means grace.

A panel afterward encouraged guests of the event to speak of their experiences and thoughts.

Cox interviewed many Enyes for the film, giving them a chance to air their concerns, such as how to establish their identity.

“Giving it a name and giving what I was feeling and going through a name helped me process my identity,” said Andee Rodriguez, NE financial aid adviser. “I’m not a fan of labels, but I am a fan of community.”

The film noted the removal of the native language after the first generation, and how Enyes lose a lot of their culture along with it.

“My grandparents spoke Spanish, [and] we could not reply in English,” student Marcie Gonzalez-Delgado said. “That was the biggest rule in the house. It’s crazy how we forget because we don’t use it.”

Some attendees spoke and shared personal negative experiences regarding their customs and traditions with the small group of students and faculty.

“For me, the tradition that I wanted to pass on is food,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t speak Spanish like my grandma, but the way we connected was making tacos, tortillas and cinnamon tea. That was our language, and I felt embarrassed going to school with leftover tacos when everyone else had bologna sandwiches.”

Even those in attendance who hadn’t directly experienced being “Enye” had something to say about the film’s impact on them.

“Stories are internalized,” said Anna Schubert, NE dual credit coordinator. “I’m just here to absorb the story.”