El Latino, the Spanish-language weekly sister to the Arkansas Times, does a man-on-the street feature. It recently provided an interesting, at times poignant, glimpse into the lives of a population that is changing the face and culture of Little Rock. Their comments are translated here from Spanish.
They are identified by name, country from which they came and field of employment.This week's question was, “Have you suffered unemployment in Arkansas?”
Jose Luis Bobadilla, Mexico, construction, Little Rock
I have been in Little Rock for 4 years and I have held a job since I arrived.
Little Rock is good for me. What is difficult sometimes is to find anyone that will take you to a job. In construction there are always jobs but it is hard to move along with it. I do not know much English and that is the reason why it is hard to find a better position. Also, for Latinos, there may be discrimination, which makes it harder to find a good job. You have to give your best all the time. That was my personal goal when I moved here; to provide a better life for my family and my parents. The most important thing is to give our best so we can keep our jobs. I thank God for my fortune.
Jose Luis Ben Humea, Mexico, construction, Rogers
Unemployment rate is so high. When I came to Little Rock, it was not difficult to find a job. The problem is the migration. Everyone migrates in from other states and therefore there are so many of us around. It's hard for Latinos to find a good job, but Americans look for Latinos. Sometimes you need somebody inside that can be your link with the employer. Since we do not speak English, they pay us below the regular salaries, but we need the job, so we take it. We need to educate ourselves and learn English.
Neyda Ben Humea, Mexico, Rogers
It has been really hard for my husband and me to find a job. The unemployment rate is so high and not only here but also in Kentucky, Alabama, Colorado. The big problem for us is the English language. We have to educate ourselves! I wish to find a learning center so we can learn the language and other jobs skills. They want to approve a law that does not pay overtime to Latinos: that is ridiculous. We just want to work and that is what the government should be paying attention to. On Labor Day, I only worked 3 hours.
Faustino Santana, Mexico, Little Rock
Oh yes, I was unemployed for two months. I could not find a job. I was close to calling the El Latino newspaper to see if they could help me find a job. I do not know what the problem was. I filled applications everywhere but no one called me. Thank God, now I have a job and my situation is changing for the better. Experience and recommendation are basics in order to find a job quickly.