"If they build it...they will come..." Field of Dreams (1989)
Recognizing that we are now and have always been a country strengthened by the contributions of diverse cultures, we endeavor to help create and maintain an atmosphere that will serve to unify the varied cultures of the City of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and thus keep our area vibrant and relevant.
Across our country forward-thinking cities and states are recognizing their futures lay in embracing the benefits of the rapidly expanding multicultural population. The areas that have been successful are those that have been progressive in constructing business plans that are inclusive of our nation’s growing Hispanic community. We recognize our own city demographics are a part of this national trend, and as such we intend to focus our efforts toward making positive contributions to our city’s future.
Hazleton, PA became the first municipality in the nation to pass its own anti-immigration law in 2006. While a vibrant Latino immigrant community was evolving, some were also blaming illegal immigrants for Hazleton’s economic decline.
The Hazleton Integration Project (HIP) was established in 2011 to unite the people of different cultures living in the city of Hazleton. HIP works to break down barriers between the older and newer segments of the community.
With the help of a state grant, HIP purchased and renovated a former Catholic school building to house its headquarters, the Hazleton ONE Community Center. The center offers a wide range of social events, cultural celebrations, athletic and recreational activities, and educational classes. In the three years since the community center opened, HIP has seen explosive growth of its programs and services well beyond the initial expectations.
Since opening in June, 2013, the Hazleton One Community Center (HOCC) has quickly becoming a gathering place for the community and a safe haven for children. Thanks to the hard work of many dedicated volunteers the Community Center is open 7 days a week. With just over three years of operation this organization has become a vital resource in the Hazleton.
Young people are more physically active and interacting with one another as a result of the variety of programs offered at the Community Center. HOCC also brings the public together in community forums such as a recent safety meeting sponsored by the state Attorney General, numerous visits from US Congressman Barletta.
HIP has grown rapidly and well beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. HIP currently operates on a modest budget with three fulltime employees, a half dozen modestly paid teachers and many dedicated volunteers.