“Only once I moved to New York had I experienced the privilege of knowing another language. I learned that there are so many countries, cultures, and traditions that make up Latin America. I appreciate DUSA staff because they are patient with me.”
I was extremely nervous when I walked up to the Dominicanos USA table at Catholic Charities. I didn’t know anything about the job. But the most important thing was to be employed. I wanted to get a taste of adulthood. I was excited to register people to vote and surprised to learn how easy filling out the form was. But the hardest thing was to get clients. I never realized how difficult it is to make people care about an integral part of society. Sometimes they just don’t know certain information. Citizens who have lived in America for decades don’t know what state primaries are. I don’t remember many clients only how hard I worked to get them.
One of my biggest challenges is being monolingual. I moved from Georgia to New York the summer before freshman year. Most of the kids in my old school were black or white. There were about 10 Latinos that I knew. I knew learning Spanish would be a good skill to have but didn’t think it would be necessary. One summer I read a book about a girl whose parents were undocumented. The book opened my eyes to the fact that not all Latinos are Mexican. I was ignorant because we only learned about America, the Middle East, and Europe in Social Studies. Only once I moved to New York had I experienced the privilege of knowing another language. I learned that there are so many countries, cultures, and traditions that make up Latin America. I appreciate DUSA staff because they are patient with me. Especially Darleny, Rocio, and Austine. Everyday I come home from work, I’m very exhausted but I still love my job. I love contributing to social change, helping people, and earning money.
***This is a guest post by one of Summer 2018’s Young Voices, Joyce Allen Marks. Interested in donating to Dominicanos USA? Click here!
“Reinvent yourself” – Mariano Diaz
On May 18th, 2018, DUSA held its 3rd Annual Interchange with UNIBE, one of the most prestigious universities in the Dominican Republic. Entrepreneur Mariano Diaz was invited as a special guest speaker for this event. During his visit, he was kind enough to sit down with me for an interview. We discussed the many stories and experiences that made him the successful man he is today, ranging from his study abroad experience in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and study of Romance languages, to his role as founder and former president of the National Supermarket Association.
Mariano Diaz emigrated from the Dominican Republic at just twenty years old. He settled in New York City where he then went on to major in Romance Languages at CUNY. When asked how his language studies impacted his career, he stated that “it made him more analytical.” He asserted that his studies in Latin, for example, helped him become more detailed in his work. After graduating college, Mariano Diaz decided to go into the food industry, subsequently becoming founder of the National Supermarket Association. When asked what piece of advice he’d give his younger self, he said, “to listen more and be more patient.”
In all, it was an honor to have Mariano Diaz visit the DUSA office. He is just one example of the many creative minds and innovators that, from humble beginnings, have flourished in our great community. The Dominican-American community in the United States is one that is constantly growing and evolving. I am sure this is only the beginning for many of our leaders.
By: Dinahlee Pena
The 1.5 generation phenomenon was especially prevalent in Dominicanos USA latest citizenship workshop. About a third of the workshop attendees belonged to the 18-24 demographic, majority of whom were part of the 1.5 generation.
Essentially, the 1.5 generation is made up of individuals who were born abroad and immigrated to the United States at a very young age, usually before they are exposed to their native country’s culture. They may or may not speak their native language, but are most likely knowledgeable of the English language, as well as American culture.
Because these individuals have no concrete recollection of their home country, they are more prone to consider themselves, culturally and socially, as Americans. Thus, obtaining American citizenship is a crucial step in integration into American society.
It was also amazing to see that some of the attendees even began their citizenship applications online through Citizenshipworks! All in all, it was a successful day at Dominicanos USA.
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The Dominican American National Foundation awards the DANF Blue Flame of Achievement Award to honor local community leaders and organizations working to advance and integrate Latinos into American society. Dominicanos USA attended the event as DANF honorees, in recognition of the work they do and how it has impacted the Dominican community. Eddie Cuesta, National Executive Director of DUSA, was there to receive the award on behalf of the organization.
The DUSA team also participated and engaged with the Dominican Heritage Night attendees. The team registered eligible citizens to vote, with the goal of further integrating Dominicans into American society.
¿Sabe usted los beneficios de ser ciudadano estadounidense? Obtener ciudadanía americana no es tan sólo asunto de adquirir un pasaporte americano. Como organización dominico-americana, nuestro objetivo es incluir y movilizar a los dominicanos residentes permanentes que aún no se han hecho ciudadanos. Los beneficios de hacerse ciudadano estadounidense incluyen: votar en elecciones, obtener un pasaporte estadounidense, ser capaz de patrocinar a su familia para ser residentes permanentes, ser elegible para becas escolares y subsidios del gobierno, poder viajar al extranjero por largos periodos de tiempo, entre otros beneficios. ¡Comience el proceso de ciudadanía hoy! Llame a nuestra oficina al 718 665 0400 y pregunte sobre los eventos de asistencia para ciudadanía, o presione este enlace aquí.
By: Dinahlee Pena