.. , a smoking cessation workshop and a Reike (healing method using hands) open house. There is also an exhibit space where women can display their paintings and pottery (Ruiz, p.53). Even though Dominican-Americans are making strides in trying to better their life, there are still many negative stereotypes that persist about them. Once such stereotype that seems to plague all people of color, is that their men are lazy and will not account for their children.
Another being that Dominican-American women do not want to work, but only care to get money from the government with no efforts to better themselves. The most silly of these stereotypes is that Dominican-Americans refuse to learn to speak English and will continue to only speak Spanish. Organizations such as Mano y Mano are helping young and old Dominican men to learn to cope with the transition of moving to America and the hardships of finding a job, while staying with their wife, girlfriend, family, etc. and learning to accept praise and support from their women without feeling that they have compromised their manhood. Mano y Mano hopes to achieve its goals through workshops, presentations, retreats and any other method that will help Dominican men cope with family life in America. La Familia Unida Day Care is an organization that is fixed on helping Dominicanas, by providing day care, offering ESL classes, and by providing job placement listings so that Dominican women can become somewhat self efficient and not depend on the government for funds and assistance.
The Dominican Chamber of Commerce is working feverishly to dispel the myth that Dominican immigrants do not want to learn English. Dominicans have a strong drive and ambition to learn English, but as grown adults it is hard to find ESL classes that are convenient and can be worked around their work schedules. Dominican Immigrants know that without English they cannot succeed in this country. So the Dominican Chamber of Commerce has set up evening ESL classes, and day care establishments so that Dominicans can have the time to learn English. They also offer other classes that will assist Dominicans in adjusting to life in America (Hale-Benson, p.186). Also with the new age of computers and technology, different Dominican organizations have utilized the world wide web in finding resources to aid their cause. They have also used the Internet to network with different Blatino professionals in the community to come in and speak in the workshops and forums they host.
Websites have been set up , so that the Internet will feel the presence of Blatinos in America. These websites also establish a grassroots foundation for Dominicans and other Blatino groups to seek out support and let them know that they are not alone (Lopez, p.142). Regardless of all the major setbacks and obstacles Dominicans have had to face, they still have had a positive impact on American society. The easiest most recognizable contribution Dominicans have made is in the field of baseball. Many Dominicans have come to play major roles in American baseball.
One such player that stands out is Sammy Sosa of the Chicago cubs, who was running neck and neck in the home run race with Mark McGwire. Also Ozzie Virgil became the first Dominican native to reach the major leagues, joining the Giants in 1956. Since that time, nearly 200 Dominicans have made an impact on the major leagues. In 1983, Juan Marichal became the first Dominican native to be named to the Hall of Fame. The legacy of Dominican players in the major leagues is very rich, and there are still many making history now.
Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez, 27, signed the most lucrative contract in baseball last year, getting $75 million over the next six years. Sammy Sosa of the Cubs, with a June-long burst of home runs, put himself in the race to break Roger Maris single-season home run record (Calderon, p.263). But Dominican contributions are not only found in the sports arena. In New York City and New Jersey there are over 23,000 business owners, 6,000 grocery stores, 500 supermarkets, 1,200 beauty salons, all Dominican owned. These business help contribute to the economy with an influx of new money (DeAnda, p.155).
Dominicans have also began to show their political power. Guillermo Linares has become the first Dominican-born elected official in the United States. In 1979 he developed the first Dominican non-profit organization, the Community Association of Progressive Dominicans. He was also elected three times to the school board, where he advocated for construction of schools. In the last five years, 10 of those schools have been built. Also New York State Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat won a narrow victory over John Muraugh last November, thus becoming the first Dominican-American to be elected as state legislator.
His victory was credited with the growing political influence of naturalized Dominican citizens in the area. Dominicans are taking charge of their communities by running for public office and becoming more involved with American politics to help better Dominican life in this country (Calderon, p.79) One of the most important contributions made to American society undoubtedly is the influx of new thoughts, ideas, practices and culture into main stream America. Right now America is seeing the biggest out pour of Latin talent in the entertainment/fashion industry. Oscar de la Renta is a well known, wealthy Dominican born designer. The influence of most of his designs are from his homeland of the Dominican Republic (Lopez, p.210). Musician Juan Luis Guerra has also scored high with the American public with his Latin infused rhythms.
The new ideas, culture, music, and positive and productive citizens, are the most unique contributions that Dominicans have offered to the United States. Thus sometimes changing the way some of us view life, and handle various other situations (Calderon, p. 49). Dominican-Americans suffer the hardships most new ethnic immigrants face when entering into America. Harsh economic problems, lack of quality and skilled job opportunities, discriminatory barriers, and various other obstacles are all very real problems Dominicans face while striving to become a productive and contributing people to America. Dominicans are a relatively new ethnic immigrant group, and have not had an abundant amount of time to establish themselves here as a positive group.
But within the short time that Dominicans have been calling America home, they have managed to take what they were given and make the best of it. Through various organizations such as Alianza Dominicana, Inc., the Community Association of Progressive Dominicans, The Dominican Women Development Center, and Mano y Mano, along with such caring and passionate political leaders as Guillermo Linares, and Adriano Espaillat Dominicans have taken a giant step in the right direction for breaking negative stereotypes and making their presence a positive one here in America. As a person of color, I can deeply sympathize with what Dominicans are going through today. I also stand and applaud them for their courageous efforts to turn a bad situation into a good one. I think an important thing we as Americans can do to ease the problems Dominicans or immigrants to this country in general is to make them feel welcome here.
First we must understand what it is they go through when coming from another country to live here, and adjust to a new language. Classes like Sociology 140, are a great start to understanding different people and the problems they face. But I don’t think we should stop there. Take a history class different from your own background. Expand your horizons and don’t limit yourself to what you see around you. Become a global citizen and become involved in different organizations, or start an organization in your community to help new immigrants cope with living in a new country.
If more people would take the time to better understand what, where and why different groups have the problems that they face, they would understand that they share many of the same problems. A shared understanding, or a single thread in common is sometimes all it takes to bridge a gap between nations, and to see beyond your own line of understanding. If everyone just took time to try one of these simple suggestions, as a nation we would be much stronger and more unified. We can come together through our differences. A simple, over used statement, but usually ignored and not listened to, can help put us on the right track for the next Millennium. Bibliography Works Cited Bronx Beat.
Online. Internet. 11 Nov. 1999 Available: http://Bronx-beat.jrn.columbia.edu/indices/021698/ latino.html Calderon, Andres. Afro-Latins in America-Revised Edition. Baltimore, MD: Brigham Young University Press, 1982.
DeAnda, Diane. Consideration of Racial Issues at Play. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1997. Herrea-Benson, Janice. Latin Americans in America. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1995. Latino Link.
Online. Internet. 3 Dec. 1999 Available: http://www.latinolink.com Lopez, Omar. Growing up Dominican. New York, NY: Anchor Press, 1998.
Ruiz, Delia. Women of Color in Modern Society. New York, NY: Harper and Row Press, 1992. Sociology Essays.