|Video by Rayquan Taylor and Story by Meghan Puryear|
Manassas is a small, yet growing city in Virginia that has experienced a lot of change over the years. This makes Hispanics the largest represented minority in the predominantly white city. Manassas is a small with a population around 30 thousand, but the Hispanic community has doubled in the last decade alone, and it now makes up a third of the population. Thus, as the Hispanic influence has grown, many services and businesses have begun to cater to Spanish speakers.
Osvaldo Mercado sat in his glass office in Union Hispana Multi-services LLC, and repeatedly asked me “Why are we not having this conversation in Spanish?” To which I would reply that my Spanish skills are not very strong, and that I would be more comfortable doing the interview in English.
Mercado was clearly disappointed as he shook his head and explained, “Americans don’t realize that Spanish will soon be the No. 1 language. We all need to learn Spanish to co-exist.”
According to the 2014 Manassas Key Demographics, almost 30 percent of all Manassas residents speak Spanish; however, over 62 percent of residents only speak English. With more than 37 million speakers, the Pew Research Center says that Spanish is by far the most spoken non-English language in the U.S. today among people 5 and up. It is also one of the fastest-growing languages with the number of speakers up 233 percent since just 1980.