'Everybody should be treated the same.' Rockville Centre woman helps other immigrants get acclimated
A Rockville Centre woman who immigrated from Cuba decades ago has devoted her life to help other immigrants adjust to their new home.
Margarita Grasing started the Hispanic Brotherhood of Rockville Centre in 1984 to help the growing population of immigrants coming to Long Island from Hispanic countries to know their rights and get acclimated to their new home.
"It was important to show them that they had rights also in this country. That they were not abused by employment or housing, that they could live and raise their families like everybody else and be the same as everybody else in this county,” Grasing says.
The nonprofit helps Latinos on Long Island with housing, employment, immigration and senior services. There's also an after-school program Grasing says was created when she realized some parents couldn't help their children with school.
"The language was a problem and the way they learn in their countries is different from the United States,” she says. “We will help them with their homework and we'll keep them or try to keep them at the same level as everybody else, because if they're successful, we're all successful."
Grasing, now 80 years old, came to America from Cuba when she was 18. She says she has no plans to slow down her efforts to help as many people as possible.
“I like to fix what's wrong and I don't like abuse,” she says. “We're all part of one race here, not only Hispanics, but the human race and everybody should be treated the same way."
Grasing says she is especially proud that during the pandemic shutdown, the Hispanic Brotherhood was able to deliver meals to seniors who could not get out of the house.
In addition to the Rockville Centre location, the organization also opened a site in Hempstead for seniors.
Grasing says the Hispanic Brotherhood helps about 12,000 people a year.