After Hurricane Maria, UnidosUS Affiliates Assist New Arrivals from Puerto Rico

Latino Leadership in partnership with Turin Aviation taking provisions to La Perla in Puerto Rico.

According to Puerto Rico’s government’s website status.pr, only 17% of Puerto Rico’s residents have electricity and only 64% have water. As Puerto Rico continues to struggle in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, organizations on the mainland are preparing for the unexpected relocation of family and friends to the states. As many as 200,000 of the 3.5 million Americans in Puerto Rico could resettle in states where they have family ties, including Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania, according to Dr. Edwin Meléndez, Director of Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños and a member of UnidosUS’s Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.

UnidosUS Affiliates are leading work to help families make a smooth transition to the states.  Latino Leadership in Orlando, Florida was among the first to bring our attention to these families’ needs, and is spearheading efforts to support those who arrive in Orlando, where they expect as many as 100,000 from the island. Through a partnership with the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latino Leadership established the Puerto Rico Family Response Center at the Orlando airport, in order to help reunify families in Florida, and provide adequate services to help them transition and restart their lives. This partnership brings together a unique network of resources as well as the support and trust of the Latino community in Florida.

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Unidos por Houston y Miami: El rol de las organizaciones comunitarias en las actividades de ayuda en situaciones catastróficas

Los Afiliados de UnidosUS están ayudando a que las familias se levanten más fuertes después de los devastadores huracanes Harvey e Irma

Después de que los huracanes Harvey e Irma azotaran Texas y Florida, las organizaciones comunitarias—incluso miembros de la Red de Afiliados de UnidosUS—trabajaron con las familias damnificadas para cubrir las lagunas entre los recursos disponibles a través del gobierno federal y local y las necesidades de las comunidades. Estas organizaciones locales, en las que sus comunidades confían, fueron socios fundamentales para las agencias de asistencia en caso de desastre como la Cruz Roja Americana para prestar servicios culturalmente adecuados y lingüísticamente apropiados a las familias.

Las familias latinas—especialmente las recién llegadas o las que viven en comunidades rurales o remotas—enfrentaron dificultades únicas después de estos dos huracanes. Por ejemplo, no todas tenían conocimiento de la ayuda y los recursos que estaban disponibles a través de los programas del gobierno de EE.UU., tales como FEMA, el Programa de Asistencia Suplementaria de Nutrición (SNAP, por sus siglas en inglés) y la división local del Departamento de Servicios para Familias y Niños, o entendían el proceso para conseguir asistencia en casos catastróficos como estos.

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Parent Engagement: In the Schoolhouse and Beyond

Guest blog post by Maritza Solano, Director of Education, CASA

Carla* (*names have been changed for confidentially) was nervous about being a panelist during the National PTA Legislative Conference in Washington, DC in early March. Carla, along with two other mothers from Prince George’s County in Maryland, were invited by UnidosUS’s (formerly NCLR) education team to the Conference to share her perspective on how to better engage underserved communities—specifically immigrant parents like herself.

Carla’s perspective was critical, as the audience present at the Conference had the potential to impact national policy conversations being debated on Capitol Hill. She was bombarded with questions from participants intrigued by how an undocumented mother of four with limited English skills had become such a fearless leader of her children’s school and community, despite the political rhetoric that was targeting families like her own. Carla’s response was straightforward: “I am no longer afraid and know that my voice is powerful and needed”.

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Diversity is Our Strength

UnidosUS announces the launch of “Rise Above,” a campaign aimed at rising above hateful and negative rhetoric and strengthening the ties that bind us as a country.

At UnidosUS, we believe diversity makes us stronger, helps us innovate, helps us solve problems, and helps us navigate an increasingly complex world. To highlight these strengths and to spur conversation about how we can come together, today UnidosUS announced the launch of Rise Above, a campaign that will strengthen the ties that bind us as a country. Rise Above will do this by elevating actions—both big and small—that people take each day to help their neighbors and their communities thrive. Through this campaign, we will provide tools and activities to help folks rise above fear and division. Ultimately, our aim is to tap into the strength of our rich diversity and foster more collaboration between all American communities.

Americans overwhelmingly hold these values too. Research conducted by Lake Research Partners, in conjunction with UnidosUS and The Opportunity Agenda, has shown that 80% of Americans believe that diversity makes the United States a stronger country. Even more of those surveyed, 84%, said they have concerns about the current negative tone of our politics, and they see racial divisions as a serious problem (83%).

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Unidos for Houston and Miami: The Role of Community-Based Organizations in Disaster Relief Efforts

UnidosUS Affiliates are helping families rise stronger after devastating Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

 After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit Texas and Florida, community-based organizations—including members of the UnidosUS Affiliate Network—worked with affected families to fill the gap between the resources available through the national and local government and the communities in need. These local organizations, as trusted members of their communities, served as crucial local partners to disaster relief agencies like the American Red Cross to deliver culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate services to families.

Latino families—especially newcomers or those living in rural or remote communities—faced unique difficulties in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. For example, not all families were aware of the assistance and resources available locally to communities through U.S. government programs such as FEMA, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and local Department of Children and Family Services divisions, or knew how to navigate the process of disaster relief. As affected families tried navigating the system to request assistance, local organizations such as the American Latino Center for Research, Education and Justice (ALCREJ) in Houston, Coalition of Florida Farmworker Organizations (COFFO) in Homestead, and Hispanic Services Council in Tampa—all UnidosUS Affiliates—stepped in. In many cases, these organizations became advocates and liaisons for families. They worked tirelessly to disseminate information on resources, conducting individual check-ins to understand specific needs and direct families to the appropriate organizations for assistance. The impact in each community was immense.

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