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Food Memories of Latin America

Come share your memories about food, migration, and identity in the Latino community! Food represents more than nutritional needs; it evokes memories and sentiments while also increasing trust and community. It also generates deep human connections and interactions. In this conversación entre vecinos, we will explore a different dimension of Latinidad through the oral histories of our panelists’ lived experiences.

October 3rd, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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Meet the Moderator

Margarita Vargas-Betancourt

Margarita Vargas-Betancourt, PhD. is the Latin American and Caribbean Special Collections Librarian at the George A. Smathers Libraries of the University of Florida. In 2016, she was part of the team that got the Society of American Archivists’ Diversity Award for the Latin American and Cultural Heritage Archives Section webinar series Desmantelando Fronteras/Breaking Down Borders.

View Margarita’s recipe.

Meet the Speakers

Wanda dePaz-Ibanez

Wanda dePaz-Ibanez moved from Puerto Rico to the United States in 1974 to pursue graduate studies. After obtaining an MA from SUNY, Stony Brook, New York and acquiring on a PhD degree in Education in 1981 from UC in Santa Barbara, California, she joined her family from Puerto Rico in relocating to Gainesville, Florida.
In 1982, Wanda opened Emiliano’s Bakery alongside her husband, Jorge Ibanez. The small idealistic enterprise evolved throughout the years to become a mainstay of both the culinary and cultural landscape of the community. Alongside her family and generations of employees, she has been proud to uphold a proud position as a Latina woman business owner. She has proudly accepted innumerable awards and recognitions representing her family business.

After 37 years in continuous operation, Wanda retired and Emiliano’s Restaurant closed its doors to the public.
Having served as both a participant and witness to the development of a strong and vibrant Latin food scene in our community she hopefully looks into a future full of opportunities and creativity within our wider world.

View Wanda’s recipe.

Linsey Derival

Linsey Derival was born in Haiti. When Derival was four years old, she moved to the Dominican Republic, living there until the age of 10 before moving to the United States. Derival’s grandfather was Cuban – and he had moved to Haiti due to the island’s economic and political situation. Derival identifies herself as Black/African-American and Latino.



Mariana Rodrigues

Mariana Rodrigues is a feminist activist who has been working with teacher training of public education network and public security agents for gender, sexuality, and ethnic-racial diversity in Brazil since 2009. From 2014 to 2016 she worked on a project of mapping the political participation of feminist lesbians in social movements in Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, and Brazil. She is part of Liga Brasileira de Lésbicas and just finished her master’s degree in Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. She holds a Master’s degree in Education from the Federal University of Tocantins, Brazil (2016). Specialist in Gender and Sexuality by the Latin American Center for Sexuality and Human Rights – CLAM / State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2011) and in Management of Non-Governmental Organizations by Presbyterian University Mackenzie, São Paulo, Brazil (2007). She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the Ibero-American University Center (2006). She was a member of the Advisory Group on Civil Society of the UN Women Brazil (2015-2017). And she is also part of the LGBT Coalition that operates within the Organization of American States (OAS). She is interested in and works with Feminism, International Relations, Social Movements, Gender, Sexuality, Latin American Studies, Human Rights, Sexual and Reproductive Rights, Public Security, Public Policies, and Education.

View Mariana’s recipe.

Dr. Cecilia “CC” Suarez

Dr. Cecilia “CC” Suarez is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication (AEC) focusing on intercultural communication and global leadership. Dr. Suarez’s research focuses on diversity/equity/inclusion, culturally relevant education and leadership development practices for marginalized communities and college students, as well as how history, culture, and societal context impact the ways in which communities engage with each other and have access to resources.

View CC’s recipe.

Marisella Veiga

Marisella Veiga was born in Havana, Cuba and raised in the United States. She is a professional writer, lecturer, and traditional home cook. Her YouTube debut showcasing her cooking abilities this spring was made possible by Weave Tales, a Jacksonville non-profit.

View Marisella’s recipe.





Funding for this program was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.