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Mayor Henry sits down with members of the city’s Hispanic community

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21)- Members of the Hispanic community packed a room, Thursday night, waiting to share their concerns with the mayor.

Evelyn Scarpa, who has been advocating for the Hispanic community for years said she wanted to see more involvement.

"I would love for the Hispanic community to be more involved in their community," Scarpa said.

Thursday night, she got the chance to tell the mayor what she thinks the city really needs.

"I'd like other community people, other staff members from the mayor's office to get involved and help us," Scarpa said.

Population data show that Hispanics or Latinos make up about 9 percent of the Fort Wayne community. It's the 3rd largest ethnic group in the city.

At the meeting, some members voiced concerns about several issues on the city's south side, including violence and infrastructure needs.

They also said they'd like to see more events that focus on the Hispanic culture, and they asked about immigration.

Mayor Henry said he will not allow city police to be used to remove people from their homes if a federal agency were to step in.

"If one of those agencies, if one of those sections of the government want to involve our police department in certain actions in the city of Fort Wayne, they're going to have to go through me," Henry said.

Scarpa said she spent time talking with immigrant families and hearing their concerns.

"They have so much love, they don't have any judgement, they just want to be a part of us, part of the American Dream," Scarpa said.

She's not the only, Paula Avila from the Hispanic Coalition of Northeast Indiana wanted the mayor to help those who may not have proper identification acquire a city ID.

"I can imagine that a lot of immigrants that are especially starting to get their paper work started they would need some form of identification so that would definitely help," Avila said.

She said she appreciated the mayor for sitting down and listening.

"I think it's amazing to see the Mayor come out here and support the Latino community, but I also think he also supports all other communities and not just us," Avila said.

Arielle Cadet

Arielle Cadet joined WPTA in August 2019. The Atlanta, Georgia native graduated from the University of Missouri and serves as a Multimedia Journalist for WPTA. Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or shoot her an email at acadet@WPTA21.com.

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