A trip to Maverick Square in East Boston provides a vivid reminder of Boston’s growing and potentially powerful Latino population. Bodegas, hair salons, restaurants, bakeries, and other Latino-run businesses line the busy streets. It’s a neighborhood at once bilingual and increasingly prosperous. One senses yet another chapter of the American dream in the making, as immigrants gain an economic foothold and hope for even better things for their children. Every two months I go there to get my hair done, and my hairdresser, a native Colombian, continues to grow her shop, now a half-dozen stylists strong.
My trips lately have made me wonder if Boston Latinos will rise up and be heard this fall, and follow the national paradigm of assuming the role of a suddenly powerful political force. Or will local Latinos continue to hide (politically speaking, at least) in plain sight?