Hispanic advisory committee planned in Baltimore County Population grew 51% in 1980s, census shows

September 21, 1993|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

Baltimore County's small but fast-growing Hispanic community will have a new advisory committee of 19 citizens to carry its views to the county government next month.

The committee, whose creation will be formally announced on Columbus Day, will advise the current Baltimore County Minority Advisory Council, which consists of members from various ethnic groups.

Lourdes Morales, the Hispanic member of the minority advisory council, said the new committee "will be able to look into the [Hispanic] community" more closely than the larger council and bring its problems to the attention of government officials.

U.S. Census figures show that the number of Hispanics in Baltimore County grew by 51 percent to 8,131 between 1980 and 1990, although the census may have missed many recent immigrants, according to Adrienne Jones, director of the county's Office of Minority Affairs. During the same period, the county's total population grew by only 5 percent.

The Hispanic population in other suburban counties grew even faster during the 1980-1990 decade, although Baltimore City's 1990 Hispanic population of 7,602 was slightly lower than it was a decade earlier.

Mrs. Morales, a Bolivian native who has lived in Baltimore for 30 years and is president of the statewide Hispanic Cultural Association, said the Hispanic population is spread around Baltimore County though many professionals are concentrated in the central Towson-Loch Raven area.

Eduardo Acevedo, president of the Federation of Hispanic Organizations and a member of the Governor's Commission on Hispanic Affairs, said the state commission is eager to have local committees formed.

The Hispanic committees can distribute information within their communities and head off potential misunderstandings by alerting local or state government officials, Mr. Acevedo said.

The governor's commission tries to help Hispanics with immigration or discrimination problems and with finding specialized services. These might include help with language problems, gathering documentation for a Maryland driver's license, or legal advice for people who don't know how the U.S. legal system works.

Recent immigrants are often poorer, less educated people from Central America's war-torn countries.

Mr. Acevedo said the governor's commission also is pushing for some form of Hispanic representation in Harford, Howard and Anne Arundel counties.

Baltimore, and Prince George's and Montgomery counties already have Hispanic liaison officials.

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