Hazleton Latinos Urge Unity

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HAZLETON -- It is a story that has made national news.

Victor Perez, head of the Dominican House in Hazleton, asked to have the flag of the Dominican Republic flown from outside city hall in commemoration of the Dominican Independence Day on February 27.

The mayor refused, citing a state law. That refusal created controversy.

"I would love to see my flag flying in this city, but personally I think we have more issues, more important issues, like drugs in this town, like gangs," said Dominican and Hazleton resident Niruka de la Rosa.

Friday afternoon, inside a restaurant in downtown Hazleton, city residents, most of them from the Dominican Republic, gathered to speak out alongside the city's police chief.

They said they understand and accept the mayor's decision.

They are calling for unity and an end to the controversy.

"We are not against the flying of the Dominican flag in City Hall, but it if the law that dosn't permit it so if the law dosn't permit it, it's our respectful action to obey the law of the United States, which is the country that we live in and this message that we are sending to our community is a message of division," said Jose Rodriguez.

"Hazleton is a beautiful town to live when you are friends with everybody when you respect everybody, and I understand we have to respect each other. We have to get united because that is the most beautiful gift that God give to us. Love each other," urged Olga Lantigua of Hazleton.

Some said Victor Perez is creating a divide in Hazleton and putting their community in a negative light.

They worry about increasing tension between Latinos and non-Latinos in the city.

"As a Dominican, which I am, by birth, U. S. Citizen, Mr. Perez does not represent me. Or the Dominican Republic, the Latinio community here, the Dominican community. He does not represent us here," said Anna Arias of Hazleton.

The city's police chief said it is obvious there is a divide in the city, but he said things have been getting much better in the past few years. Something like this controversy stops that progress.

"No one here was trying to create this division or cause this stink or file any sort of lawuit because we're all trying to work together to better the community," said Chief Frank DeAndrea.


  • A Concerned AMERICAN

    Can we go to DR to fire off fireworks the forth of july and fly the american flag at their government buildings to celebrate our day of Independence?

  • anthony

    Once again remember that almost no Dominican that lives here agrees with perez, this guy just found a good opportunity to start problems… He should go back to wherever he came from or be deported to DR in my opinion. He might be trying to get a lawsuit and get quick cash. and the majority of crimes are from thugs that come from new york for opportunities to sell drugs and other illegal activities. most 40+ year olds are working people who have no runnings with the law.

  • Even Madder American

    I’m a dominican studying MATH at Penn State Main (senior). It is absolutely ridiculous how many of you posting on this website are telling us to go back to our own country. You forget that your ancestors were all also immigrants at one time. Your ancestors were actually the “filthy animals” (quoting teamsheik) who stole this land from the native americans.
    I am sick and tired of “hazletonians” complaining about the latino community. The United States is a country that is made up of many different cultures and races, that is the true definition of what it is to be an “American.”
    I was born in the United States, and am a citizen. I am just as “American” as every one of you. I go to college, pay my bills, and am trying to make my contribution to society.
    So please, stop making ignorant comments telling members from the latino community to go back to our country….unless all “you white folk” are going to go back to yours, because technically speaking, the only true Americans, are the native americans.

    An Angry Dominican.

    • CCKM

      What you are doing with your life and in your life is wonderful. If you understood most of us correctly, those comments are directed at those who come from other nations to live here and complain about everything, or those who are even born here and complain about everything regardless of their culture. Everybody gets homesick, that’s different. I am from NYC, and now I live in a small town. I lived in the city 45 yrs, so the adjustment hasn’t been easy for me. Even though I am of the same race as my neighbors I am definately not of the same culture as my culture is a mix of about 100 cultures by nature of the environment I grew up in! I catch myself complaining about the culture clash here and realize that they have been here long before I was born so I adapt the best I can, and enjoy the beauty and quiet and inexpensive living of this place. @Anthony, while maybe much of the crime you encounter is from NYC, the crime where I am at here is ALL home grown. Be aware that many people whether rural or urban are basically sick of being treated like they’re the outsider by people who eimigrate here, it happens when people from other countries cluster together and aim to make existing natives uncomfortable in their own backyard. It happens, I ‘ve seen it, and I have experienced it.

  • GCIU

    Are you Americans or Dominicans make a choice and move to the proper location to fly the flag of your preference

  • ME

    Thank you to the Dominicans who spoke out against Perez and his treasonous acts. All he is doing is causing division and trouble. They want the town to be Dominican, yet, they still want all that America has to offer. When will our officials wake up to what is really going on here?
    You love the Dominican Republic so much, go back there and live, you losers! You can’t have our country.

  • CCKM

    Victor Perez, the Al Sharpton of Hazleton! Stop stamping your feet, causing division, and go back to the Dominican Republic and run for dictator. Towns do not fly flags of every culture, nation, and creed of their citizens heritage everytime a holiday rolls around from their native country! In NYC, everytime there was day the commemorated an event or holiday from their native countries they had festivals, parades, celebrations whatever, and flew their native country’s flags in said neighborhoods, businesses and homes; NOT at city hall!

    • ME

      Since they know very little about how this country operates, they probably don’t realize what you said about the flag, or they don’t really care. This is just a forshadowing of what is to come when they are no longer in the minority. Wake up politicians and American citizens.You are leaving your grandchildren a different America to live in.

      • CCKM

        Good point! It has been my expereince that very few who come here, and teach their kids who are born here, Anything at all about our country except than it is one giant honey-pot to dip into up to their elbows then whine about the toothaches they get! The mentaility I have seen from the 80’s to one of gratitude to into the 90’s and thereafter to one of gimmee, gimmee, and btw this is what’s wrong with America and it’s natural born citizens. Or, I’m taking my kids back to the “old country,” there is too much trouble here, etc.. Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry and don’t let the door hit your bum on the way out!
        Well, if they taught their kids how to succeed here they would have an qual shot, but because they themselves didn’t avail themselves to our oppourtinities in the right way, or simply took a giant dump on them; their kids follow suit and worse. And our governent is DC either don’t give a hoot, are in on it, or just living the good life on tax-payer dollars. At least this mayor has a set.

  • mad anerican

    they came to the USA to live they get everything handle to them and now they want to fly their flag go back where you came from. You want to live in the USA go by our ways and learn to speak ENGLISH in public i think if they can not do that they should get a fine I am tired of them coming here and getting everything WHAT HAPPEN TO THE USA??????

  • Scott Williams

    The illegal aliens should stop making demands until they have legal visas or are actual citizens. And I am not talking about false documents they create with stolen SS#’s

    • ME

      Why should they start demanding things then? Are they so special or just stupid and demanding? Someone doesn’t like it here, then get out!

      • CCKM

        Preach! No one group should be treated “special,” unless it can be proven that they have been treated unfairly. Flying your native country’s flag has nothing to do with fair. I don’t recall the constitution saying anything about the freedom to fly other nation’s flags on government property! Arnarchy is not a solution to this nation’s problems. Make positive differences in your homes, and in your towns and take a stand for what is moral, right, and just.

    • ME

      Yes, that’s the idea and the rest of America will follow unless we do something soon. No one wants the whole country to be the cesspool Hazleton has become. Deport illegals and don’t give them or their children any benefits or rights and make sure the legal ones assimilate.

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