By Orlando J. Rodriguez
Yolanda Negrόn knows Willimantic well after graduating from Eastern Connecticut State University and serving on the Windham Board of Selectmen. She is seeing “many new faces” in the local Latino community and these new faces are not Puerto Ricans.
Willimantic provides a window into a quiet, but notable, change taking place in our state. The new Latinos coming to Connecticut are almost as diverse as there are Latin American countries. Willimantic, like so many other Connecticut towns, has a long history of immigrants. Irish, Polish, Ukrainians, and French Canadians first immigrated to Willimantic, and Puerto Ricans began arriving in the 1950s looking for a better life for their families.
Many Puerto Ricans worked at the American Thread Company or the Hartford Poultry Corporation, also called La Chicken by the many Puerto Ricans who worked there. La Chicken closed in 1972 and the American Thread Company closed …