What it means to be a Long Islander

I recently read an article on a magazine called Long Island Pulse that really caught my attention. The article, entitled “New Islanders: cultural diversity could be the antidote to brain drain,” talks about how immigrants have been and still are the bedrock of American society. This article cites important organizations such as the Fiscal Policy Institute, based in Albany. It also gives examples of many immigrants that are successful professionals and entrepreneurs that are radically changing Long Island towns and suburbs.

Something very important that this article noted is that documented or undocumented immigrants are not only those hard-working low wage Hispanic laborers that you see on the 7-Eleven’s, but also people coming from Korea, India, China, Colombia and many other places in the world. In fact and despite of what extremist right-wing talk show radio and TV hosts can say, laborers are only a very small percentage of the total number of immigrants that come to the U.S. yearly. Among immigrants you can find highly trained professionals, as well as business entrepreneurs, artists, farmers, etc.

But unfortunately, the myths that govern Long Island’s popular culture are so strong that we have to witness such horrible events as the murder of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorean immigrant killed in Patchogue after a group of teenagers targeted him for “looking Hispanic”

A  myth that this article helps to dispel is that of immigrants draining government coffers through health clinics and others. In fact, they put  more into the economy and their local communities than what they receive. Please see below:

It is time to embrace immigrants as Americans, after all, only Native Americans can claim true originality to this land. Immigrants and their children are the future of Long Island. It is not about being color/ethnicity blind, but about really seeing and believing and embracing.

We are white-black-brown-catholic-hindu-buddhist-jew-atheist-curly hair-straight hair-big eyes- small eyes-spanish speakers-english speakers-chinese speakers-indian speakers-straight-gay-bisexual-etc-etc-etc Long Islanders. And proud of it.

Chart from http://www.lipulse.com

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