Maryana Carreon

Maryana Carreon

Wednesday, 09 September 2020 22:56

Getting to Know the Community

Towards the middle of my internship I  had the opportunity to volunteer in the local Latinx community I am outreaching out to, known as "El Punto" or the "The Point." I volunteered with the North Shore Community Development Coalition, which is non-profit based directly in the neighborhood. 

North Shore CDC invests in neighborhoods, including El Punto, to help create thriving communities. Per their website, they use their community-focused development model to invest resources into low-income or distressed neighborhoods on the North Shore to improve the quality of life for residents. They are committed to the community though affordable housing, economic and youth development, community engagement, and urban art.

I  have been in communication with a couple of their WONDERFUL staff members on their team in order to help create a relationship between them and Salem Maritime and Saugus Ironworks National Historic Sites, which I am extremely excited about! An update twill come very soon!

I recently volunteered to help distribute resident care packages to members of the neighborhood. The packages included personal care items, PPE, educational materials, diapers, feminine products, cleaning supplies, and more. This was in conjunction with the local food pantry, so residents were also able to get fresh veggies and dairy products. There was also folks there to help residents fill out the 2020 census, as this helps determine how much federal funding communities will receive for roads, schools, housing, and social programs. While I  was speaking to some of the Census workers there, they explained to me that it is often difficult to get large immigrant communities and neighborhoods to fill out the census, because many times there are undocumented folks in the community who believe they will get reported (which is false!). There is also the language barrier that keeps folks from filling the census out. All of this results in lower funding for the communities that really need it. It was really nice to see the workers out there explaining this to everyone and making sure community members filled it out!

My job during this event was to hand out the packages and to serve as an interpreter. Most of the residents spoke primarily Spanish, so while I was there I was able to help explain what was being offered and the layout of the event. I've been an interpreter all my life, from interpreting to my parents, random strangers while i've been out and about, an unintentional interpreter at my jobs working at grocery stores, and a formal interpreter at State and National Parks. So this was something I  was used to, and as always very thankful I  could preform this service to my community.

It was great to see the community coming together to help one another out. Just as I mentioned in my last blog post, I  felt very at home. Hearing the jokes, the community members speak to each other, and the loud music all felt very familiar to me. Everyone was so thankful and friendly during the event, it made me so happy and proud to be part of the beautiful Latinx community. Overall, this work is definitely something I will be bringing home with me and encouraging others to do!

Wednesday, 09 September 2020 22:23

El Punto Urban Art: An Invitation to Explore

Around the corner from Salem Maritime National Historic Site, there is a lively neighborhood filled with art, music, and history. Describing itself as an "Open Air Museum" by the Punto Urban Art Museum and located in “El Punto” Neighborhood in Salem, Massachusetts, the museum features 75 large-scale murals created by 30 world renowned and 25 local artists. To give some extra background, El Punto is a neighborhood that has a large Latinx community, which is largely Dominican but with Puerto Rican and Central American populations as well. 

I was able to find a little taste of home within the El Punto community, which I  appreciated being so far away from home. While walking through the neighborhood, I heard familiar sounds of Bachata, Merengue, and Reggaeton blasting from apartment complexes and cars passing by. The language of home rang through my ears. Smiles and laughter of the people walking around spoke for itself. The art pieces I came searching for, all located within a 3 block radius, add extra color and vibrancy to the neighborhood. The art found on these walls reminds me of my community. Social justice, identity, the Latinx experience, the artists’ personal lives, and the environment inspire the art found here. Community member's ideals, beliefs, hopes, and dreams are seen represented through this art. This creative freedom and expression runs rapid throughout the neighborhood through these murals.

Many of the faces in these pieces remind me of people I know. My family, friends, and neighbors are reflected in this art, looking back at me and accompanying me on this journey. The "Untitled" pieces by Celeste Cruz, Carly Cummings, Gabriela Marshall, and "The Farmer" by Ruben Ubiera all evoke a sense of familiarity and add to the sense of community and culture within the neighborhood.  Whether or not one can relate to the art pieces mentioned above, there is something here for everyone. One is sure to find their own meaning in any of these pieces, but there are also familiar patterns and funny characters everyone can remember. Whether it's a futuristic design, cartoon characters, nature, or encouraging messages, there's something we all recognize and can feel a part of.
The piece that struck me the most was definitely "The Farmer", as this reminds me of the labor of my people.  The eyes, uniform, wrinkles are all familiar. The words and paintings around it all represent the struggle and sacrifice of the hardworking farmers. Around the country there are large populations of Latinx farmworkers, especially within California. This face, this painting, is something that unites us all.
I  spoke to one of the folks from North Shore CDC, which is the coalition that created the program of the Urban Art Museum. I learned that one of the reasons the art is spread throughout the neighborhood is so folks outside of the community feel comfortable and curious to come into the neighborhood and explore, especially in the alley ways. Alleyways are seen as scary or dangerous, particularly in "Urban" neighborhoods, where most of the population is BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). The art was created to break these stereotypes and invite people in to the community, which I thought was so beautiful and powerful.
Visiting “El Punto” neighborhood felt like home, and I encourage others to explore the art here as well. To see the art pieces I  am talking about, visit
Thursday, 23 July 2020 17:33

West Coast to the East Coast

Hello Everyone! My name is Maryana Carreón. I recently graduated (Class of 2019, Woot woot!) from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and minor in History. I am originally from the small town of Hemet, California. This week I moved from the West (Best?) Coast to the East Coast for my internship at Salem Maritime and Saugus Ironworks National Historic Sites. Here is how it's been going so far.

First off, the car ride from the airport to my apartment was an exciting one! Immediately I noticed the difference in landscape, architecture, and city layouts. There's brick and wood buildings here, yall! I've seen them in my life, of course, but they are not too common in California. Also, basements! Wow!

So far my internship has been extremely flexible in order to fit COVID guidelines. I have been in constant communication with my supervisors who have been extremely flexible and want me to have the best possible experience in this current situation. Because I just moved to Salem, I am currently under quarantine for two weeks. During my time in quarantine, I will be reading/researching the history of the area and the park, as well as attending staff meetings and virtual programs and events. Once my self-quarantine is over, I will be able to go out onto the field and do some socially distanced work! This will involve exploring both Salem Maritime and Saugus Iron Works National Historic sites as well as the nearby El Punto neighborhood in order to gain a better understanding of the community and history of the area.  I aim to connect with park staff, locals, and the surrounding Latinx communities in order to help create stronger relationships and encourage stewardship and engagement!

One of the goals I have for this program is to help facilitate conversation and a stronger relationship between the National Park Service and it’s surrounding communities, as well as to help inspire more Latinx stewardship and park engagement. I'm so excited for what is to come!

After my internship, I also hope to answer the age-old question: Which coast is the best coast?

Friday, 24 April 2020 00:16

Maryana Carreon

I am from Hemet, California. I am a first-generation college graduate and daughter of Mexican immigrants. I recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a major in Cultural Anthropology and a minor in History. I became interested in this program because I want to pursue a career with the National Park Service and I thought this program is the perfect way to combine my career interest with my cultural heritage. I want to explore the many ways the NPS preserves history and recreation. I appreciate that the Latino Heritage Program encourages the Latino community to engage and participate in conservation and preservation, as this is important and historical work that many Latinos may feel left out of or not necessarily connected to. With this experience, I hope to engage and connect communities to the National Park Service and discover/explore my own interests in this greater context of conservation and culture.