Waded Cruzado, President of Montana State University, has a message for aspirational students in the state: Hard-work matters. Cruzado should know. She is a first-generation college student from Puerto Rico who, due to hard work and perseverance, serves as one of the few Latina presidents of a university in the nation.
Two weeks ago I turned 18 and along with the excitement of this important date, there was better news. I was now eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine because I am Latina; in Montana Latinos and other people of color are priority groups for receiving the shots because we are more vulnerable to the virus.
It is a fact that Latinos are more at risk of acquiring and spreading Covid than non-Hispanic whites. It is also a fact that Latinos as a group are more resistant to the idea of vaccinations; up to 30% fewer Latinos opt into any adult vaccinations.
This week I am completing two months of writing about Latino life in the Big Sky area. I have again and again learned about three crucial factors which impact the Latino experience: the power of connection, the lack of information, and the challenge of communication.
Housing is one of the most difficult issues for all non-home owners in Big Sky, and Latinos experience this problem even more intensely. Language barriers for renters and landlords alike make this already difficult process a struggle.
The Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 requires that all school districts “take action to ensure equal participation for everyone including removing language barriers for ELL (English Language Learner) students.” As a result, all U.S.
Jose Azel, a successful journalist, and author who lives part-time in Big Sky and part-time in Miami is a role-model for first-generation Latinos who have sought and found safe refuge in the United States and a way to contribute to both their nation of origin and their new adoptive country.
The immigrant experience in the U.S. is as diverse as the people themselves. But one feeling links all the newcomers: fear.
A decade ago, Samantha Riley knew absolutely nothing about Honduras or Latino culture in general when she made a spontaneous decision that changed everything. "I honestly just found ‘Students Helping Honduras’ online and decided to go on the program completely randomly. I didn't realize it would mold the rest of my life.”
Aranza De La Torre arrived in Big Sky four years ago completely unable to speak English. Google Translate and her English-speaking husband were De La Torre’s only methods of communication. Until recently, she worked at the Big Sky Post Office where she was able to provide translation for others.