Wednesday June 29, 2016
By now, Hispanics have a well-established presence in Elkhart County.
Aiming to take a closer look at the segment, but wanting to do more than state the obvious — that they’re an increasing share of the population — we took another approach. We’d try to get a sense of how connected the Latino newcomers feel in Elkhart, Goshen and the rest of Elkhart County.
The end result — “Hispanics at Home?”, a three-part series that ran in The Elkhart Truth last month. I helped craft the approach, but it was a team effort, largely involving myself, reporter Sharon Hernandez and Managing Editor Mark Maley. A group of Goshen College journalism students also contributed plenty of material.
A few takeaways:
- Latinos have their own tight-knit community, their neighborhoods, their stores. Latinos have Spanish-language churches, there’s even a soccer league that caters to a largely-Hispanic population. That tends to create a sense of two parallel worlds.
- Still, many leaders have emerged and are emerging, trying to raise the voice of Latinos, get them more involved in the broader community.
- Younger Latinos, comfortable in both the Anglo and Hispanic cultures, bilingual, are increasingly feeling at home here, even if they were born in Mexico or elsewhere in Latin America.
I wrote several stories, shot video and did plenty of social media along the way. I crunched a ton of U.S. Census Bureau figures, which helped document the growth of the segment, where Latinos live and the nature of the population (native or foreign-born, their roots in Latin America). Some of my highlights:
- “Despite advances, integration of Hispanics remains a work in progress in Elkhart County,” May 14, 2016
- “Latinos live in parallel worlds as they forge a place here,” May 14, 2016
- “Undocumented status keeps some immigrants peering in from the outside,” May 21, 2016
- “How do you fix nation’s broken immigration system?”, May 21, 2016
- VIDEO: “Mexican, American, both?”, May 14, 2016
- DATA: “Elkhart’s Shifting Demographics: More Latinos, Fewer whites”
Here’s a promo video I put together to tease the package before its launch:
The immigration issue is big in Elkhart County and the rest of the United States. It’s an issue that draws me, having lived in Latin America, origin of many immigrants here, and I’ve written a lot about it over the years.