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HAND Aims To Make McKenzie Co. A More Inclusive Environment For Hispanics

 

September 8, 2021 | View PDF

Folkloric Dancers Perform At Watford Market A group of newly-formed Folkloric dancers HAND (Hispanic Advocacy of North Dakota) performed at the Watford Market Sept. 2. Shown dancing (L to R) are: Culeyka Walkowiak, Nicolette Perez, Jencoarl Lopez and Valentina Perez. The song was called "El Gallito" (Little Rooster). The Market featured local vendor booths plus a piñata for the kids. The event was held at the Kent Pelton Memorial Park in Watford City.

Watford City is now home to a new organization called, HAND (Hispanic Advocacy of North Dakota). The goal of HAND is to create a more inclusive community for Hispanics in Watford City; it will help Hispanics feel welcome and part of the community by translating events and other resources.

"We aim to empower Hispanics in our town to be more successful. We want them to plant roots here and stay, even after the oil job is gone. For they are one of the first people to pack up and leave when they get laid off. We want them to learn how special Watford City is and all the opportunities we have here," said Yolanda Rojas, HAND Director.

The organization will have meetings and educational workshops to help Hispanics start a business, buy a home, enroll in English as a second language classes, financial education, etc. There will also be a variety of events introducing the community to the Hispanic culture. 

Rojas said, "We are excited and thrilled to be able to help bridge the gap between Hispanics and non-Hispanics. There are a lot of misconceptions between both parties, and we aim to clear that up and bridge both parties.  We need to evolve as a community and help this minority population feel welcomed and part of our communities."

HAND will be an important part of Watford City because of the continuous growth of the Hispanic population in McKenzie County.

Daniel Stenberg, McKenzie County Economic Development Coordinator, said, "I am excited for HAND, especially since our Census numbers show our Hispanic population has increased over 1000% since 2010."

Rojas hopes that HAND will help alleviate some of the workforce issues in Watford City. The organization will become a 501(c)3 in the near future. 

To learn more about the organization, check out the HAND Facebook page.

 

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