Most Dominican NYers Embrace Roots, Survey Finds
A recent study conducted shows Dominican New Yorkers are determined to hold on to their culture, despite adapting to life in the Big Apple. NY1's Rebecca Spitz filed the following report.
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Washington Heights is an enclave for New Yorkers of Dominican descent.
"It's like I'm participating in both countries," said one Dominican New Yorker.
The City University of New York's Dominican Studies Institute recently conducted a telephone survey looking at the lives of 639 New Yorkers of Dominican descent.
"How important is keeping the transmission of the Spanish language to your kids? How much do you value English and would you like your children to speak English fluently?" explained Ramona Hernandez of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute.
The study found that Dominicans in the Bronx and in Manhattan -- the boroughs with the largest concentrations -- value it all.
"It's very good when you can speak Spanish and English because this country's very important when you speak English you can do a lot of things," said one Washington Heights resident.
An ever-increasing percentage of Dominican New Yorkers are first generation Americans, born and bred here. The survey found their parents want to pass on certain cultural values, including religion.
"Catholicism, also language, they also want to transmit music, they also want to transmit the love for their history, the love for their cultural values," Hernandez said.
"You were always told, 'Do not forget your roots.' It's part of my identity, it's part of who I am. I'm just getting enriched by having two cultures," said one Dominican New Yorker.
The study found even Dominicans who are well established in the city say they still send money back home, never wanting to forget where they came from.
"The economy over there is a little poor. That's why a lot of Dominicans and a lot of Latin American people come over here to work hard to send money over there and to help their family," said one Dominican New Yorker.
The study found fewer than one in four Dominicans surveyed plans to go back to their island nation, although a good number said they just don't know.