Friday, March 09, 2007

Berkshire County celebrates immigrants

This multicultural community is celebrating immigrants. The event had food, music and information for immigrants to live there. DP

By: Karen Honikel For Giobanny Tintin, this event is more than just celebrating culture. It even goes beyond recognizing social contributions made by local imigrants. For him, it was a place to learn about legislative issue they are facing and even meeting other immigrants in the area.

Tintin said, "To make different questions about the license, about the permit to work, about the green card, about citizenship, different things."

Of course, the evening wasn't all serious. Musical entertainment from authentic musical groups and lots of free food from local ethnic restaurants kept everyone smiling. Officials from the Berkshire Immigrant Center said events like this let immigrants know that there are people in the community there to answer questions they may be scared to ask.

"I think it's important to debunk the myth that you don't have to have done anything wrong to see an immigration attorney. We get professors from college that have questions for immigration attorneys," said Program Manager Brooke Mead.

Many local businesses also came out to the event to let immigrants know their doors are open, and they're looking to hire. Officials of Manos Unidas or "Helping Hands," a multicultural community empowerment group, says with Berkshire County losing population every year, it's vital to welcome immigrants.

Anaelisa Vanegas-Farrara said, "It's really important to have an influx of immigrants. Time and time again, I think of Schenectady, NY as an example, the Guyanisse population. Over and over again, immigrants revitalize communities."

And with 12,000 in Berkshire County, they almost define it

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