EDITORIAL: Latino life in Lake Tahoe
June 3, 2010
A strong community has a large number of parts, and at Tahoe those parts are diverse and unique – longtime residents, new immigrants, second homeowners, weekend visitors. This week in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, Sierra Sun and Tahoe Daily Tribune, we’ve begun a lakewide look into one of those parts: the Latino community. In this series, reporter Matt Welch worked with photographer/reporter Jason Shueh to tell some of the stories of some of the members of the community who are Latino, and speak Spanish as their first language.
The three-part series is meant to provide a window into the lives of a few of these individuals, the challenges they face and the opportunities open to them. We don’t intend the series to portray an ethnic group in its entirety, or to draw conclusions about any groups; we are simply telling stories of a few of these residents.
And in the process, we’ve found out a lot about the community and these participants in it. The commitment to the Tahoe community was clear in many of the interviews, and many of the Latinos we spoke with have a desire to learn English despite setbacks they’ve faced in mastering the language. And those who we spoke with also expressed a desire to be a more vital part of the community – which will require organizations recruiting Latinos to sit on boards and become active members, and Latinos to actively seek leadership positions.
Both are happening, but not on a level that truly represents the fact they are one-third of our community.
Great community members long for engagement and take advantage of opportunities to be involved, and some of the individuals we spoke with, even despite a language barrier or lack of legal residency, wanted to help Tahoe.
And that is the challenge the basin, and the rest of the country, faces – to effectively and consistently engage all its members in order to build upon what’s here and progress toward the incredible potential of the community.