Town Hall meeting hopes to convince Hispanics to engage more in the community

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Members of the Hispanic community gathered Monday evening in downtown Jonesboro to engage in a conversation with elected officials.

The first Hispanic Town Hall meeting was held at 6 p.m. at the Municipal Center. Hispanic residents voiced their concerns in Spanish as they were being translated. One of the major concerns expressed by residents was the lack of help provided by the city to make life for Hispanics easier.

Jonesboro Mayor, Harold Perrin, spoke to the Hispanic community and told them if they wanted more help they needed to be more active in the community.

Mayor Perrin invited Hispanic residents to their City Council meetings so they can be aware of what is happening around them.

"Don't step back and let a problem or opportunity pass", said Mayor Perrin. "I think what you need to do is come by my office and let me know about your concerns. The Hispanic Center has grown exponentially over the years and they were able to because they became engaged in the community. Now if the whole Hispanic community became engaged, we would see a change in Jonesboro."

Gina Gomez, director of the Hispanic Center announced at the meeting a new project to revitalize the North side of Jonesboro, where the majority of the town's Hispanics live.

Gomez offered residents chances to become active so in turn the whole city of Jonesboro could see the prominent number of Hispanics in the town.

Mireya Reith, executive director of the Arkansas United Community Coalition, was one of the organizers of the meeting and said today was the beginning of several changes that will be coming to Jonesboro.

"This was an exciting step in what we are hoping will begin a better dialogue between our elected officials and our Hispanic members of the community. We really want to bring the message that we have the Hispanic community that is very curious and aware, wants to do more with the community but doesn't know where to begin", said Reith.

Many residents thanked Mayor Perrin at the end of the meeting, telling him they were glad they attended because they found their city officials wanted to help.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.