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According to the latest statistics from the US Census Bureau, 47.8% of people in Providence speak a language that isn’t English at home.

Over the last 30 years, the percentage of Providence residents who define themselves as ‘Hispanic’ or ‘Latino’ in the census has risen from 5.8% to 37.6%. Here in Downtown, the last census reported that 11.1% of residents fit in this category.

For English translations of the texts, see below.

En camino a su clase de español en la Universidad de Rhode Island, Jane, una profesora de inglés, cuenta, “I saw a movie about someone who writes a list of things to do before he dies. I went and found the lists I wrote when I was 20 years old. Number two or three on every list was ‘learn Spanish.’” (Vi una película sobre un señor que escribe listas de cosas que quiere hacer antes de morir. Fui a casa y encontré las listas que escribí cuando tenía 20 años. El número dos o tres en cada una de ellas era ‘aprender español’.)

Aneudy, líder de proyectos para City Year, visita escuelas públicas para ayudar a estudiantes con dificultades escolares a graduarse. “Soy dominicano,” dice, “y la mayoría de los jóvenes con los que nosotros trabajamos son hispanos. Nuestra comunicación se hace más fácil cuando hablo con ellos en español.”

Laura nació en Nueva York de una familia dominicana. Tiene siete años viviendo en Rhode Island y trabaja al lado de la ventana en AAA. “Yo hago cosas de matriculación. Cuando la gente tiene que renovar su licencia, yo soy la persona que lo hace. Y si alguien viene que no habla inglés y necesita seguros, les ayudo a ellos también. Es mi primer ‘real job’, y me gusta.”

Belén, staffing specialist para Manpower que está localizado en el tercer piso del edificio AAA, es puertorriqueña y lleva 30 años en Rhode Island. “Me considero una Rhode Islander. Aproximadamente el 75% de la gente que viene a Manpower es hispana, pero if they don’t speak enough English, we can’t help them get a job.” (si no hablan suficiente inglés, no les podemos ayudar a conseguir trabajo.)

Daniel es puertorriqueño. “From twelve generations on both sides of my family. In over 80% of the island, there’s someone with one of my last names.” (Doce generaciones de cada lado de mi familia viene de Puerto Rico. En más del 80% de la isla, hay alguien con uno de mis apellidos.) Trabaja como vigilante de seguridad mientras estudia justicia criminal. Lleva nueve años practicando artes marciales. “When you get into it, it starts to envelop you.” (Cuando te metes en ello, empieza a envolverte.)

Mario lleva 30 años en Rhode Island. “Quiero a este estado, me siento bien aquí. Me gusta la tranquilidad sobre todo.” Este colombiano quien vive en Pawtucket hace la limpieza de los cuatro edificios de Westminster Lofts de la calle Westminster. “Me gusta lo que hago, nos tiene que gustar lo que hacemos, no?”

English Translations

Jane, an English teacher, is on her way to a Spanish class at URI. “I saw a movie about someone who writes a list of things to do before he dies. I went and found the lists I wrote when I was 20 years old. Number two or three on every list was ‘learn Spanish.’”

Aneudy is a project leader for City Year. He visits public schools to help students who have academic difficulties so that they can graduate and go to college. “I’m Dominican. The majority of the young people we work with are Hispanic. It’s much easier to talk with them in Spanish.”

Laura was born in New York to a Dominican family. She’s been in Rhode Island for seven years, and works next to the Westminster Stories window in AAA. “I do the driving licenses. When people need to renew their license, I’m the person who does it. And if anyone comes here who doesn’t speak English, and they need insurance, I help them out. It’s my first ‘real job’ and I like it.”

Belén is a staffing specialist for Manpower, on the third floor of the AAA building. She’s Puerto Rican, and has lived in Rhode Island for 30 years. “I consider myself a Rhode Islander. About 75% of people who come to Manpower are Hispanic, but if they don’t speak enough English, we can’t help them get a job.”

Daniel is Puerto Rican. “From twelve generations on both sides of my family. In over 80% of the island, there’s someone with one of my last names.” He works as a security guard while studying for a masters in criminal justice. He’s also being a practicing martial artist for the last nine years. “When you get into it, it starts to envelop you.”

Mario has spent the last 30 years in Rhode Island. “I love this state, I feel good here. Above all, I like its peaceful nature.” Originally born in Colombia, he lives in Pawtucket and he cleans the four buildings owned by Westminster Lofts on and around Westminster Street. “I like what I do. We have to like what we do, don’t we”?

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