Biloxi church helps Hispanics adjust to south Miss.

Published 6:40 pm Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Hispanic population in south Mississippi has increased during the recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

Fitting in and understanding a new culture is challenging. That’s why the Hispanic Latino ministries has begun holding monthly meetings at Beauvoir United Methodist Church in Biloxi.

“Each month on the last Sunday of the month, we have a community empowerment meeting for the Latino community, in which we try to discuss some topic of interest to the community, to help them fit better into the community, how to live here, and get along,” said Mary Townsend of Hispanic Latino Ministries.

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The meetings are conducted in Spanish. Hurricane preparedness was the topic this past weekend.

“They have not been here during a hurricane. They may have experienced something similar in their own country, but not here, and we really want them to know where they can go, what radio stations, which television stations, they need to be turning on and listening to, and they need to start preparedness because they may not be familiar with the area,” said Lorena Diaz, a Community Recovery Specialist for the American Red Cross.

Past meetings have included possible immigration reform and tax preparation. Next month, the assistant chief of the Biloxi Police Department will talk about community relations and the law.