Odessa, Texas, was the 23rd stop on our Listen to America road trip. We spoke to residents about why they’re there. Here’s what they had to say:
“I decided to come here so I wouldn’t be that far away from home ... There’s a big difference from El Paso to Odessa, but I really like it. It’s something different.”
― Leslie Robles, 18, shift manager
“Odessa is a great place really. Everyone has their opinions about it. It has its own beauty. It has its own culture. It has its own attraction.”
― Scott Windham, 37, sales
“People are so divided on things and so polarized and that’s what I try to teach is civil discourse. To get along, listen to the other side, and realize that everybody doesn’t believe in the same thing that you do. Whether it’s guns on campus, gun control, religion, politics ...”
― Myra Salcedo, 67, university senior lecturer
“I like it. It was really different from my hometown, but adjusting to it wasn’t really a problem for me.”
― Lauren Marenco, 18, student
“I really like it here. I think what makes Odessa special is the people here ... I would say Odessa is a lot more than what people might think it is.”
― Vincent Pierce, 31, music teacher
“When I first moved here, it was not my ideal place to live, but after being here, you fall in love with the people. They’re salt of the earth.”
― Debi Hays, 60, self-employed
“I’m a first-generation college student ... I actually love it. It reminds of the small community I grew up in. It feels like home for me, even though I’m six hours away from my family.”
― Jefember Villela, 23, student/media coordinator
“It’s home ... I fell in love with Odessa when I was a kid because I’ve always felt comfortable.”
― Jacyree Webbs, 19, sales/student
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated Vincent Pierce’s last name as Pierre.
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BEFORE YOU GO
Best Scenes From Odessa On HuffPost's Listen To America Tour