I decided to focus on the Latino community for my mid-term interview paper. When I was deciding on what group to examine this was not my first choice. I originally had wanted to focus on the SMI (Severely Mentally Ill) population, due to my long affiliation and professional experience with this group. However, when I learned that we had to focus on an ethnic group, I became interested in the Latino, or Hispanic, community, especially after they were also the subject of my group presentation. I have not had much contact with this group nor have I had any personal relationships with individuals who are Latino. Due to this, I think I was naïve about the amount of discrimination Hispanics face. However, after reviewing several research articles and conducting an interview with a member of this community, I became better informed about the barriers that this minority group faces, both historically and in the present, and the ways in which individuals and groups are working to erase these barriers.
I conducted my interview with Ivelissa Colon-Cruz, who is of Puerto Rican descent and works at Santa Maria Community Services as a family advocate and group facilitator. Santa Maria, as the agency is called in the local community, was established in 1897 to help Italian immigrants acclimate to American life. Santa Maria provides a variety of services to residents of Greater Price Hill, including Latinos who live in the area. Her agency’s goals are to provide services to help decrease language barriers, assist with providing support to parents with young children in the school system, improve networking, work to empower the community and assist with acculturation. According to their website, Santa Maria provides educational tools and resources to build strong families, promote healthy residents, and foster neighborhood revitalization. Their specific mission statement says, “Santa Maria empowers Greater Price Hill families as they achieve sustainable health, housing and family life.”
She explained the focus on Price Hill is due to the influx of young Latino families (personal communication, February 12, 2014). According to the 2010 Census, 4.2% of Price Hill residents were of Hispanic descent, however the percentage was almost three times that for Lower Price Hill. By contrast, Covington, Kentucky’s Hispanic population percentage in the 2010 Census was 3.6%, while Cincinnati’s was only 2.8%. These numbers were all much higher than the 2000 Census and point toward a nationwide trend of increasing numbers of Hispanics in all areas of the United States.
Colon-Cruz (personal communication, February 12, 2014) reported that she felt there are four main issues facing Cincinnati-area Latinos -- isolation, low-education, language barriers, and cultural clashes. During the interview, Colon-Cruz stated, (personal communication, February 12, 2014) “Many people tend to associate all Latinos with undocumented immigrants, poverty, (and)...