Hispanics have helped build the Miami we know today

If you visit a public place in Miami, you’re destined to hear people speaking Spanish.

Since Cuban dictator Fidel Castro assumed power in 1959, Cubans have been immigrating to Miami in massive quantities, trying to escape the atrocities committed by their government.

They’ve created communities such as Little Havana and Calle Ocho, in which they not only welcome outsiders into their culture but also stay connected to their roots.

Similarly, immigrants from places like Venezuela, Honduras and Nicaragua, whose countries face political turmoil, have made Miami their home away from home.

In Miami-Dade County, 68.6 percent of the population is Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census.

With them, they bring beautiful traditions, culture and cuisine that make Miami one of the most sought out vacation spots in the world.

They also bring great businesses, which have caused Miami to rank eighth in annual business establishment growth, according to a study conducted by the Miami Urban Future Initiative.

Some of the successful businesses that have been started by immigrants in Miami are small, family owned and loved by Miamians from all walks of life.

One of the most admired is Vicky Bakery, which was opened in Hialeah after its owners Antonio and Gelasia Cao migrated to Miami over 50 years ago.

Without their brave journey to the U.S., we wouldn’t be able to enjoy an authentic Cafecito and Cuban sandwich at any time of the day.

Here at FIU, our student body resembles what the rest of our city looks like.

Over 60 percent of us are Hispanic, and we’ve contributed to the awards and accolades that make FIU the great university it is today.

Even Modesto Maidique, our University’s former president, is the only Hispanic to have a university named after him and is responsible for establishing FIU’s law, medical and architectural schools.

Although there has been negative information spread about immigrants, Miami is a place where immigrants can feel welcomed.

Some of our parents and grandparents don’t fully speak English, but they haven’t been shamed for it like Hispanics in other parts of the country.

Instead, they’ve been met with patience and understanding, because in Miami we’re all fighting the same fight although we come from different backgrounds.

Despite our silly feuds over soccer and cuisine, we’re all here in search of something our home counties couldn’t provide.

Once you step foot here, it’s clear that Hispanics are part of what makes America the vibrant melting pot we all know and love.

At PantherNOW, we embrace diversity within our students and hope that Miami continues to be rich with different cultures in the years to come.

Photo by Nicole Malanga/PantherNOW

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