How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Author Rick Nahmias on California: "We are the most diverse place for faith in the world."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oX6X0v8pvQk&feature=player_embedded

Zócalo Public Square recently featured this great interview with Los Angeles photographer, writer and filmmaker Rick Nahmias, author of Golden States of Grace: Prayers of the Disinherited. The book documents marginalized communities in California practicing their faith, among them Buddhists in San Quentin, a Mormon congregation for the deaf, and Latina sex workers who pray to Santa Muerte, the skeletal sacred figure whose cult originated in Mexico.

In the interview, Nahmias talks about how California's history as a landing place for migrants - including 1930s Dust Bowl Okies, who brought over Baptist and Pentecostal traditions - has made it such a rich place for religious diversity.

This diversity doesn't necessarily beget religious harmony, unfortunately, but it's another testament to California's role as the great melting pot of the 21st century.

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