Hispanic Population Continues To Grow, Flourish In Triangle
Posted October 10, 2002 5:12 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Officials say about 10,000 Hispanics are moving to the Triangle every year. They are not just making ends meet. They are also making a life for themselves.
In many ways, the Hispanic community fuels North Carolina's economy. Michelle Davenport came to North Carolina from Peru three years ago.
"I think the Hispanic community is very welcome here," she said.
Davenport said the Triangle offers more opportunities for Hispanics than many other U.S. cities.
"In the case of the Hispanic community, they move where they can find a job and raise their families," she said.
Aura Camacho Maas said she came to the United States from Colombia 21 years ago with no English skills. Today, she is running for a Wake County commissioner's seat.
"We have to be at the table. These things will not come to us just because we are here. We have to work for them," Maas said.
Obed Morales is Puerto Rican and lives in Cary. He is bilingual, but he said he worries about how those who do not speak English fare in the Triangle job market.
"It's unfortunate. They'll make less money than the average American, but they're willing to do it and they work hard," Morales said.
They also work hard to make the United States their home.
"I love my country, but now I have my family here. This is my space now," Davenport said. "This is the place where my son and husband are. I consider this my country."
Officials say a big obstacle for many Hispanics who move to the Triangle area is language. It is estimated that as many as 100,000 people in the Triangle are native Spanish speakers. Organizations like the Latin American Resource Center are trying to bridge the gap by helping schools accommodate their Spanish-speaking students.