GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — New census data shows an increase in the Latino and Hispanic population. Over the last decade, North Carolina’s Hispanic population has increased by 11%.
And as those numbers continue to grow, advocates are worried that the needs of this population aren’t being met. Community leaders say the immediate need they’re seeing is in healthcare.
Juvencio Rocha Peralta is the Director of AMEXCAN and a former migrant worker himself. He said there are attempts at the state level to reach out to marginalized communities, stating the NC COVID Latino Task Force as an example.
But at the local level, Rocha-Peralta says healthcare systems do not have the capacity to meet the needs of migrant workers. He suggests creating advisory councils within these systems can help close any healthcare gaps.
“They need to diversify, who is there, making decisions, and helping the systems to make to understand more, clear, about what’s happening in this communities,” says Rocha-Peralta.
He also said while he sees a lot of work ahead of them, he believes the census data provides a great opportunity for meeting the needs of migrant marginalized communities. He believes the Hispanic and migrant community has felt invisible, especially during the pandemic.
With a growing population, numbers highlight that elected officials will have to come up with more sophisticated plans to reach out to these communities.
“We really need to foster education and we need to focus on opportunities to go into different fields and especially the medical field,” says Rocha-Peralta.
AMEXCAN released this statement reflecting on the census data:
The Association of Mexicans in North Carolina (AMEXCAN) seeks to present a declaration to reflect and highlight the population growth of the Hispanic community as seen in the United States, and more specifically in this state of North Carolina.
N.C. grew by 9.5% in overall population and had a 10.7% increase in the Hispanic population over the last decade, according to the 2020 Census. Furthermore, Hispanics continue to be the second-largest population group in the U.S. and account for over half of the nation’s overall growth since the last census.
Director of AMEXCAN Juvencio Rocha-Peralta says that “this prompts me to reflect on how much work lies ahead in order to counter the disparities the Hispanic community faces in specific topics such as education, healthcare, and social infrastructure in this state.”
“We have realized that N.C. has had significant growth in the Hispanic population over the last 20 years. However, this population has remained invisible to the will and public policies of the state,” adds Rocha-Peralta. He further reflects that we still live in a time where opportunity is lagging and repressed for migrants.
Moreover, the census reflecting a notable population growth for Hispanics opens the door to many new possibilities and opportunities, but also new challenges. One of those challenges is the development of a representative organization that will advocate, advance, promote, and supports the well-being of the Hispanic and migrant community in N.C.Overall, this demographic information brings forth an arduous job to the forefront for AMEXCAN, and that is to address and help reform education, healthcare, and public policies for the betterment of the Hispanic population of N.C. Association of Mexicans in North Carolina, Inc. (AMEXCAN).
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