Honoring Hispanic History: Amilcar Arroyo, Publisher El Mensajero

Hidden History

(WBRE/WYOU-TV) For many in the Spanish speaking community “El Mensajero” is the place for news and community happenings.

The newspaper started back in the early 2000’s in Hazleton as a newsletter– and has grown ever since.

     Eyewitness News Reporter Andy Mehalshick sat down with its longtime editor to talk about Latino impact in the region.

Sitting in his office in downtown Hazleton, publisher and editor, Amilcar Arroyo, remembers how he found his way to the united states.

  “I am originally from Peru and moved to the United States on January 6, 1989. The reason was I lost my job in Peru due to a very bad economic situation and depression. The bank where I worked in Peru closed its doors.”

He ended up in Miami as a tourist and ended up getting a sailor visa and working on a cruise ship.

  “That was my first job in The United States working on a cruise ship. 

From there.. he answered an ad in the newspaper.

 “I  only had $10 in my pocket, so I took the job with a Cuban contractor that used to bring farmer workers to this area. so, I packed tomatoes in Sugarloaf.”

From there he worked in a textile plant.. Where he met the woman he would marry.. and started a family.

Following the 9-11 attacks on our nation, Arroyo began to notice an influx of Latino descent coming to the city of Hazleton.

  “Census 2000 count 1,000 Latino in Hazleton. census 2010 counted 10,000 in Hazleton. so in 10 years, we grew 10,000 people,”  Arroyo explained.

But the new residents lacked a channel of communication.

That’s when his idea of a newspaper was born.

  “I create a newsletter in 2003. the first edition was May 2003, so that newsletter was 4 pages I think. Started a monthly publication — started growing month and month in numbers

With the growing diverse community.. came some concerns — and clashes — but arroyo says.. the Latino community has a lot to offer.

  “We bring music, Latin cuisine, labor force we bring young population that Hazleton was missing.”

 And he offers these words.. to those who are now calling our area — home..

  “Tf you come to a different country, you have to learn the language. second, you have to have respect. respect is a very key word, an important word, and we have to have discipline.”

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