HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Hispanic Heritage Month is being celebrated in the city of Hazleton where, by some estimates, the Hispanic population is in the majority.
“So what we expect in the next five years in northeastern Pennsylvania is something to me, is great,” El Mensejero newspaper publisher Amilcar Arroyo said.
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Arroyo says he shouts that message out to anyone who will listen. He emigrated from Peru 30 years ago, making Hazleton his home. He is the publisher of the Spanish-language newspaper El Mensajero.
He says the new immigrants from Latin America see Hazleton as a place they too can call home for generations to come.
“They come looking for two things: New opportunity in their life and raise a family. In the meantime contribute those things back into this area. Nothing that means change is easy,” Arroyo said.
Arroyo says the Hispanic culture has brought new and exciting things to the city.
“You bring different culture, different music that is the fabric in the soul of the United States of America, so we are part of that, the Latino people,” Arroyo said.
Arroyo says the Latino community is making a big impact on the economy of Hazleton, throughout the city. Especially in Center City. Hispanic businesses are flourishing.
“Going to see the positive way more and more businesses open daily, daily in Hazleton. You go and ask the Chamber of Commerce, can do. We have Wyoming Street. We don’t have one store available on Wyoming Street,” Arroyo said.
The same optimism can be seen and heard at the Dominican House of Hazleton. The folks there help immigrants from the Dominican Republic make the transition from their former life to their new life in America.
“I think that everyone is pushing in the same way. To promote the United States. To do something positive for the United States to promote and be productive to the Pennsylvania state,” Dominican House of Hazleton president Victor Perez said.
Perez says many of the folks who come here for help want to build a future for themselves and their families. They, like immigrants before them, see America as the land of opportunity.
“We got a lot of people investing money in different cities. In Hazleton, the whole of Pennsylvania. So I think this is very positive and I think we got a lot of people doing something positive in the community because that is the way we. We want everyone to be part of the United States,” Perez said.
He says the Hispanic community realizes they have the best of both worlds: the traditions and cultures of their homeland and the promise and culture of their new home, America.