In this edition El Puente has arrived to publication #400. It has taken a lot of work from many individuals who have worked on the newspaper since March of 1992. It has been 22 years since El Puente started and throughout all these years we have seen the local community grow and mature.
It has been a great pleasure to see many of the children that we first met at grammar school who graduated from high school and have gone to college. We now have a wealth of young people who can show the way to those who are following their path.
Compared to other parts of the country, the Michiana area has a very short history of Latino presence. Even though we have third and fourth generation families, the majority of people arrived in the 90’s and later.
The area was not used to so many foreigners. Except for big cities nearby like Chicago or Detroit, most of the rural farming communities hardly had continuous contact with Latinos and foreigners in general.
Big universities and colleges have had a long tradition of international students, but it was only later that the local young people began to attend those same colleges.
It has not been easy for the students and their families achieving these goals.
The school corporations, teachers, and local organizations decided that they were going to support the effort of educating this generation of new students coming from different cultures. They have been successful, and along with their families, now feel proud of the outcome. There are college graduates from every field and they are already contributing to society.
In the near future we expect to see them joining boards and committees, teaching new ways of looking at issues and showing a different way of working as a community.
There has been much suffering for all the families that have been broken by deportations, those who in the last recession lost everything, and many of them left.
Some left with the entire family, others left students behind, and they are among the very successful who are now graduating from colleges.
Have all the problems been solved? By no means, the struggle continues, but there is more hope now, because we are seeing the results of hard work and resilience.
We could accomplish much more if every Latino citizen would register to vote, and would vote. The voice and vote of those who now have the power to speak and vote is needed to effect change at other levels.
Why is it that Latino people do not present a massive voting block? Probably because many come from countries where there was never any change. People became tired and numb before the unchanged reality of their countries of origin.
That is the next lesson that our community needs to learn. This is the time when we need voices that represent the Latino population as part of society at large, with a feeling of belonging, and the right to have opinions and to decide.
As the new elections approach and we see the candidates promising many things, it is the time to listen and analyze what they offer and if they have met their past promises.
The last years have been a locked struggle between parties with no answer to the situation that affects many of the Latino families. The Immigration Reform continues to be an issue that is discussed and remains unsolved; while young people are affected by this lack of decision from the parties.
A way to honor the efforts made by of all those who are now studying and being successful is to inform yourself and vote accordingly in the coming election.
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