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25716: Cidihca: (news) Fw:Haitians from Cambridge mentioned in this article (fwd)
From: Cidihca <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: CENTRE DE DOCUMENTATION DU CIDIHCA
Subject: Haitians from Cambridge mentioned in this article
Changing face of Cambridge?
By Sarah Andrews/ Chronicle Staff
Thursday, July 14, 2005
One out of every four Cambridge residents was born in another country and
city has the second highest immigrant population in the state, according to
The city's large number of immigrant and educational resources, urban
location and base of immigrant residents built up over the past few decades
few factors that draw in foreign-born dwellers.
"I think generally why someone chooses a particular destination, for the
most part, has to do with family," said Jessica Durrum, the interim
director of Centro Presente. "And, for the most part, people come to [this
country] to work."
Both reasons brought Ives St. Pierre to Cambridge from Haiti in 1998.
"When you come to America, you want to move forward," he said, explaining
desire to work. Family members and friends lured him to the Boston area
brief stay in Florida.
Only Boston beats Cambridge in sheer numbers of immigrants, housing
almost six times as many. But when it comes to the immigrant share of the
population, Chelsea, Lawrence, Somerville and Brookline rank higher.
fifth and Boston sixth.
The study, authored by researchers at Mass. Inc., also shows Cambridge's
immigrant population grew by 22.8 percent from 1990 to 2000, gaining 4,868
new foreign-born residents. Since 2000, researchers estimate the state
additional 172,054 immigrants, though that data is not yet broken down by
But while these numbers indicate a healthy growth in newcomers, some say
the makeup of the city's population is changing.
In 2000, Haitians were listed as the city's most dominant immigrant
group, followed by Chinese, Indians, Portuguese and Koreans. Some in the
community believe this has shifted, as high rents and a bad economy drive
Haitians to more affordable communities.
Jean Jeune, a Haitian immigrant who works with Haitians in Cambridge,
said the loss of rent control in 1995 was a major issue for that community.
"If you're living in subsidized housing and then you start seeing your
rent increase by over $100 a year, that's a big problem," he said, adding
many Haitians, including himself, have now migrated to northern communities
such as Malden, Medford and Lynn.
Mass. Inc. research associate Greg Leiserson points out that Cambridge's
urban environment, coupled with its educational opportunities, creates a
dichotomy between the education level of immigrants. Indian and Chinese
immigrants are more likely than Haitians to come to the country with higher
Khandaker Ashfaque, a Bangladeshi MIT doctoral candidate, spoke English
and had a bachelor's degree before he arrived. He told the Chronicle that
never looked to the city for immigrant resources and stays largely within
St. Pierre, on the other hand, said ESL courses at the Community
Learning Center were important to him, as was the Haitian Multiservice
In 1985, Cambridge designated itself a "Sanctuary City" in response to
human rights violations in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The
means city officials agree to turn their head to the legal status of
immigrants. Both Centro Presente's Durrum and Nekita Lamour, a Haitian
ESL teacher in the Cambridge Public Schools, say this may be one reason why
immigrants feel safer here.
"One thing we're not seeing change over the years is ... people are not
able to obtain immigrant status," Durrum, who works with Latin American
"Every political event in Haiti is reflected here with an influx of
immigrants," said Lamour.
Other offerings, such as the Mandarin bilingual program at the King
School, could be seen as a draw for Chinese immigrants to stay in Cambridge.
and Lamour say the loss of the Haitian bilingual program at the Graham and
Parks School hit Haitian parents hard.
But while Lamour acknowledged more could be done for the Haitians, many
of whom aren't literate in their own language and can't speak English, she
believes it's a two-way street.
"Both groups need to learn from each other," she said. "The city needs to
learn more about the ethos of the Haitian culture ... Haitians are not
be vocal, because of the political oppression there ... but here they can
question things. Haitian people [need to learn] to be involved and