Hablando de Nuestros Lectores Latinos/ Speaking of Our Latino Readers

The Kitsap Sun has launched its first Spanish blog, Se Habla Espanol Kitsap, hosted by South Kitsap resident Estela Lopez.

The summary of the blog is: Estela  Lopez comparte noticias e informacion de importancia para la comunidad latina de Kitsap y El Norte del Condada de Mason.
or
Estela Lopez shares news and information of interest to the Latino community in Kitsap and North Mason counties.

Estela, who works at the the YWCA of Kitsap County, said on Friday that the Latino community badly needs a central forum for exchange of information, as well as human interest stories about the diverse group of folks who make of the area’s Spanish speaking population.

Our area is home to Latinos of various backgrounds, including Mexicans, Guatemalans, El Salvadorans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans … and probably more. Let me know who I’m leaving out, por favor.

In February, 2009, El Centro de la Familia, an assistance center for Latino families, closed due to budget problems. The Immigrant Assistance Center opened in its wake, but initially was unable to provide the same level of service. The Immigrant Assistance Center is now the Multicultural Assistance Center, open to Latino immigrants and others whose primary language is not English.

According to the U.S. Census, in 2008, persons of Latino or Hispanic origin made up 4.9 percent of Kitsap County’s population (total 239,769). In Mason County, with a population of 57,846, Latino and Hispanic residents make up 6.6 percent of the population. The 2010 U.S. Census questionnaire will soon arrive in Kitsap and Mason county households. As the Census is analyzed, it will be interesting to see what stats this more refined look at population trends reveals.

Beyond the stats, there are sure to be interesting stories about people from the Latino community … like Estela, who was honored as a 2009 Woman of Achievement by the YWCA of Kitsap County.

She is originally from San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato, Mexico. She moved to the United States in 1980. She and her husband, Jose Luis, own El Sombrero restaurant in Belfair. Her son, Jose Luis Jr., is in 10th grade at South Kitsap High School, where he is in the ROTC program.

Before she was hired by the YWCA, Estela owned the Talpita Hispanic store in Port Orchard at Jackson and Lund avenues, from 2006 to 2009. The store became much more than a place where people came for food and sundries. Estela helped customers fill out forms and find information they needed to conduct their businesses and their lives (becoming a de facto branch of the immigrant assistance center). At one point she opened the store to Health Department staff who hosted classes there.

Personally, I’m looking forward to reading Estela’s blog as a way to brush up my rusty Spanish. Bienvenidos, Estela y los otros lectores Lationos del Kitsap Sun.

3 thoughts on “Hablando de Nuestros Lectores Latinos/ Speaking of Our Latino Readers

  1. Thanks for the article and thanks to the Sun and Estela for putting up the blog. I’ll link to it from our site. One small expansion/correction for the article; The Kitsap Multicultural Assistance Center (Kitsap MAC) is open on Mondays and Tuesdays and provides health, education and social services referrals, business start-up support, English as a Second Language (ESL)tutoring and citizenship support to individuals and families in need, regardless of their culture or background.

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