Marisela, 50, Restauranteur
In 1992, Marisela immigrated to Texas from Mexico; her then-husband, father of her three children, was already working in the States. Ten years later, she came to Mississippi to be near her sister.
It was a change and a challenge, she told me, speaking through a translator. Back then, Marisela would rarely see anyone else of Mexican descent—maybe once every three weeks at Walmart. But now in rural Mississippi the Hispanic population is large enough that many medical offices employ translators.
In December, Marisela and her current "esposo" opened a restaurant, La Sierrita, that—unlike most Mexican restaurants in the area—serves traditional Mexican tacos. It's a hit. Despite no advertising and a highway storefront that is hard to spot even when you know right where to look, La Sierrita is already packed for dinner every night—with diners of every race.
She's proud of what she's built, clearly. But she also has fond memories of spending holidays at her grandparents' house in Mexico.