What the Latino Community Wishes for 2019

Cuban immigrant Román Valdés said that he has had housing assistance coupons since 2016 but no one takes them. (Photo via El Diario)

[Below are excerpts from a story about Hispanic New Yorkers and their wishes for 2019.]

(…)

Ana B. wants women’s rights to be respected

“My wish for 2019 is respect for all humanity and respect for women. Women cannot continue to be mistreated or abused, and I would like to see the end of domestic violence. I think that, with everything that has happened and all the complaints, the mentality is changing, but we need to keep working on that issue. We women deserve respect, and I feel that the authorities are contributing a lot to this fight, but we need total respect.”

Beatriz Burgos: Subway rider

“(…) I know things are not going to change magically, but at least I expect that the MTA will fulfill its promise to solve the issues of train delays and the lack of good service. Also, I hope that they will not increase the price of MetroCards, because it is really unfair of them to raise the fares when we are constantly suffering with these trains and buses.”

Armando López, owner of Don Paco Bakery in El Barrio

“My wish, not just for me but for all business owners in the city, is that this year we have more customers and that sales improve because, ever since Trump has been president, I don’t know why, business has gone down. (…) I would also like to see more protection for commercial rent, because here we are seeing rises to impossible prices. I am supposed to sign a new contract this year, and I am wishing that the owner will be considerate and not raise it too much. Otherwise, we will not be able to keep the bakery.”

Margarita Villegas, for driver’s licenses

“I am very pessimistic about the future of immigration benefits under this president, but I think we do have a chance with driver’s licenses. For people like me, who drive and are always thinking that they could stop us and give us more tickets, licenses will be useful because we will be able to be more at ease. (…)”.

Alexis Crespo, for a higher minimum wage

“It is really good that wages have risen, but I don’t think the price of things should be increasing too, because that does not change a thing. But I think that what we should all be doing now is fight and demand that the minimum wage is raised to at least $18. It is a matter of justice, and I think it would help many families.”

Eduardo Rodríguez, for student aid

“(…) Unfortunately, I had to drop out of my accounting studies at LaGuardia because I could not afford tuition, but I would love to see my dream of going back to college with some kind of aid from the government of New York come true in 2019. (…)”.

Modesta Toribio, immigration activist

“We need to continue fighting in 2019 on every front. We have a number of specific plans set to start in January, and we will continue fighting for immigration reform and, primarily, to prepare the immigrant community to fight together against the attacks of President Trump and to remain united and positive (…).”

Changela Di Marti, for respect and unity in the gay community

“My wish for 2019 is to see a truly united LGBT community, because we must admit that, although we talk about demanding respect from others and ending rejection, many people within the community discriminate against others for being trans or lesbian or something else, and that needs to change. (…) I would also want the fight against homophobia to continue, as being gay remains taboo to this day. I think we must start educating others by accepting ourselves first. I was always out of the closet and have not felt rejection from people around me because I think I was able to make them respect me, and they have always seen me as I am. So, to them, it is normal.”

María Lugo, to become a U.S. citizen

“I have lived in this country more than 30 years, and I am hoping that my U.S. citizenship appointment will come through in 2019 so I can feel like I am fully a part of this country. My wish is for everything to come out fine, but I can’t deny that, with everything this president wants to do, including punishing those of us who have received assistance, it is hard not to be afraid. Still, I trust that the law will be above Trump and that we immigrants will be respected the way we deserve for our contributions to this country.”

Román Valdés, to be a home owner

“I am praying with all my might that things fall into place this year, and that I can finally have my own home and I can stop living in the streets, because it is very hard. I am tired of carrying housing assistance coupons around that no one wants to accept, as if we homeless people were not human beings. It feels horrible to sleep on the street or on the train. I never imagined that, at my age, I would be living like this – and sick, to top it off. (…)”.

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