Westbury Celebrates Immigrants & Hispanic Heritage

Law student helping an immigrant apply for citizenship at Westbury public Library.
Dancer at Westbury's Hispanic Heritage Festival.
Dancer at Westbury’s Hispanic Heritage Festival.

Westbury is a small village of only 15,000 people, but it is rich in diversity. The village’s large African American and Italian communities have been joined over the last fifty years by immigrants from Central America and the Andean countries, Haiti, and South Asia, as well other regions. Last week the village celebrated that diversity.

Things kicked off last Saturday with a citizenship drive sponsored by CARECEN’s Pathway to Citizenship program and the Westbury Public Library. The team of law student volunteers and legal professionals helped a half-dozen Westburyites apply for Naturalization.

Westbury audience listened to legal scholar talk about Alexander Hamilton and immigration.
Westbury audience listened to legal scholars talk about Alexander Hamilton and immigration.

On Tuesday night, the Village Justice Court hosted a well-attended program on the immigrant Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. I spoke that evening about Hamilton and other immigrants among the founders of the country. A look at who actually founded America tells us that the immigrant contribution to starting this country was much greater than is usually imagined. I pointed out that, when Americans say that this country was “built by immigrants,” they rarely realize that, from the very beginnings, America’s system of government depended on those who came here from somewhere else.

The events climaxed today with a celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Culture at St. Brigid’s School. More than 200 people attended this festival of music, dance and fun.

Latin food was part of the fun at Hispanic Heritage celebration.
Latin food was part of the fun at Hispanic Heritage celebration.
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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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