For those of us who live in Pasadena, this isn’t news. For all of you who don’t, here’s a neat little front-page story by the Houston Chronicle.
Pasadena’s culture shifts with growing Latino majority
In just a few decades, a growing Latino majority has reshaped the home of Urban Cowboy
— reported by the Houston Chronicle
But Pasadena, ever the chameleon, is undergoing its most profound shift to date as the old Anglo culture gives way to a new and growing Hispanic majority.
Though the trend started decades ago, Hispanics’ majority status was first recorded in the 2000 Census. Mostly new immigrant families with children, they are filling the schools, propelling the economy and transforming the landscape.
Now nearly 60 percent Hispanic, Pasadena was chosen as the pilot site for H-E-B’s pioneering Mi Tienda, a supermarket directly aimed at Spanish speakers. The old Elks Lodge has become El Palacio Real for quinceañeras and other galas.
The Denver-based Cinema Latina chain’s first theater in Texas offers up U.S. blockbusters dubbed or subtitled in Spanish and chili on the popcorn. The local Wal-Mart has made room for an in-store health care clinic called Mi Acceso Soludable, or My Healthy Access.
St. Pius Catholic Church rubs shoulders with Templo Apostolico and other immigrant-favored evangelical congregations.
Hispanics, however, haven’t similarly penetrated the body politic.
Garcia has represented Pasadena on Commissioners Court since January 2003. But for decades, the Precinct 2 office was held by Jim Fonteno and, before him, John Ray Harrison, who was quintessential “old Pasadena.” His daughter, Nikki Harrison Caffee, is Garcia’s Pasadena liaison.
Mayor John Manlove, who was adopted as a baby by white parents, is half-Hispanic. But the City Council always has been all white and mainly male.
The inexorable Latinization of Pasadena is most evident in the schools, ever the demographic barometer of the future.
Kirk Lewis, who became superintendent of the Pasadena Independent School District in April, has worked at the district since 1986.
When he started, the student population was 60 percent Anglo and 31 percent Hispanic. Today, it’s 73 percent Hispanic and 14 percent Anglo.
Enrollment has soared from 35,000 students to more than 50,000; 26 percent are limited-English-proficient.
The story is definitely a good read.