The Spanish-Speaking Community in Binghamton
by Marta Agüero Guerra and Fernando Castro Ortiz
When we arrived in Binghamton two years ago, we were not familiar with upstate New York, and we wondered if there were many Spanish speakers in the area. Two years later, through word of mouth and some research, we have discovered that there is indeed a significant Hispanic/Latino population. We have come across several Latino businesses and cultural events, media in Spanish, and organizations that advocate for this community.
As Spanish professors in the Romance Languages Department at Binghamton University, we strive to provide our students with real-life contexts where they can take their Spanish skills beyond the classroom. So why not build a bridge between the university community and the Spanish-speaking community? This is precisely the goal of the Fall 2022 course “Spanish in the Community,” which was created with the support of the Center for Civic Engagement at BU. This class includes a service–learning component that gives our students the opportunity to serve the Binghamton Hispanic/Latino community.
For that purpose, we have developed partnerships with different organizations in the area. Students, for example, will collaborate with the American Civic Association, Literacy Volunteers of Broome/Tioga Counties, and CNY Latino. In the experiential parts of the course, among other things, they will tutor learners of English as a Second Language, they will be language conversation partners, and they will help immigrants prepare for the citizenship exam. In their collaboration with CNY Latino, students will write bilingual articles focused on giving visibility to the Hispanic/Latino population in the Greater Binghamton area. They will conduct interviews with members of the Hispanic/Latino community, such as business owners, organization leaders, and event organizers.
If you are interested in learning more about Spanish speakers in this part of New York, stay tuned. We hope that this collaboration will continue to strengthen the bonds among Binghamton University, the local community, and other Hispanic/Latino communities in the state.
Marta Agüero Guerra and Fernando Castro Ortiz are Lecturers of Spanish at Binghamton University. They teach courses on Spanish language, culture, and linguistics.