FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Fernando Zapari is a busy man. Dressed in blue jeans and a blazer, he's constantly on the phone, meeting with sources and counseling young people on the threshold of adulthood.
It's all in a day's work for the publisher and editor of El Mexicano.
Mr. Zapari founded the paper in 1994, and it reaches thousands of readers throughout Northeast Indiana and the region. It's one of the only sources of news and information for the area's Latino community.
"It's very important to keep them well informed and also to educate them about all of these wonderful opportunities and resources for higher education for their kids," Zapari explained.
Indeed America's Latino population has grown exponentially. In 2019, population reached 60.6 million people, up from 50.7 million in 2010 according to Pew Research.
Indiana has the 21st largest population of Latinos, standing at 426,000 according to Pew. It's an increasingly powerful voting bloc and economic engine.
Thus, Mr. Zapari has charged himself with keeping many of those Spanish-speaking readers informed. His paper is free and is supported by advertising, though he admits the recession is making that job more difficult.
"If I wanted to make money, I'd sell used cars like everyone else in Fort Wayne," joked Mr. Zapari. "It's never been about money."
Ultimately, Mr Zapari said he hopes the paper will inform and inspire younger readers, who will eventually attend college and pursue their professional ambitions.
"That's it," he said. "That's no price that money can buy, you know?"
Northeast Indiana is rich in Latino culture, history and food. Here are links to other organizations you may wish to learn more about during Hispanic Heritage Month: