Latino Leaders Denounce Pursuit of Anti-Immigrant Agenda at 2015 National Latino Advocacy Days

More than 300 Latino leaders from throughout the country participated in the 2015 NCLR National Latino Advocacy Days (NLAD) this week. Leaders from our national Affiliate Network of community-based organizations and the youth Líderes Congreso joined together to denounce the continued pursuit of an anti-immigrant agenda and attacks on President Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration.

Communities in 24 states and the District of Columbia were represented including California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. They engaged in sessions on public policy, advocacy and strategy to prepare for the implementation of administrative relief through Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Many advocates also met with congressional offices to deliver a statement urging Congress to cease the obstruction of measures aimed at providing relief for millions of hardworking American families.

We also asked NLAD attendees to tell us why they voted. Here’s what they told us: (Click play to view slide show)

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 Below are more social media highlights from this annual event.

NCLR Affiliates Meet in Philadelphia for 2014 Peer Exchange

This week, members of the NCLR Affiliate Network gathered in Philadelphia for the 2014 NCLR Affiliate Peer Exchange. For two days, Affiliates reconnected with others from around the country and re-discovered the array of skills to be found within our network of 300 community-based organizations.

This year, participants focused on how to grow and nurture a data-driven culture in their organizations. Case studies were presented and they heard from experts in the field, all in the name of growing the impact of Latino nonprofits.

The two-day meeting ended today. Below are some highlights from the event.

The Peer Exchange began with a tour of Philadelphia’s famed mural arts scene.The focus was on Latino mural arts.

Philadelphia Mural Tour #NCLRPX @NCLR @Congreso1977 A photo posted by @groman28 on

After the Mural Arts tour, it was time to get down to business.

After a long day of art and talk of data-driven culture, NCLRPX attendees ended with a community reception.

Vanguard Principal Alba Martinez and Comcast VP Maria Arias join #NCLRPX Community Reception.

A photo posted by Congreso de Latinos Unidos (@congreso1977) on

¡Liderazgo Latino! Johnny Irizarry, Casa Latina @ Penn and Maria Gonzalez, President of HACE. #NCLRPX #Congreso1977 A photo posted by Congreso de Latinos Unidos (@congreso1977) on

#PHL #Latino Legacy: Pedro Ramos, Alba Martinez, Dr. Carmen Febo, and Romy Diaz. #NCLRPX #Congreso1977

A photo posted by Congreso de Latinos Unidos (@congreso1977) on

Day two of the Peer Exchange began with a tour of North Philly neighborhoods.

Edwin Desamour of MIMIC helping #NCLRPX put community in perspective.

A photo posted by Congreso de Latinos Unidos (@congreso1977) on

#NCLRPX tours the reality of Latino Philly…the beautiful murals, the amazing organizations…and the distress.

A photo posted by Congreso de Latinos Unidos (@congreso1977) on

After the neighborhood tour, attendees prepared for their meeting with some Harambe!

Great energy after the Harambe at #NCLRPX this morning! @congreso1977 A video posted by NCLR (@nclr) on

After a tour of Philadelphia Affiliate Congreso and the Pan American Academy Charter school, it was time to close the event.

We thank all of our great Affiliates who were able to join us in Philadelphia. To find out more about our Affiliate Network and the amazing work they do, visit the NCLR website.

NCLR Affiliate Spotlight: Five Questions for Congreso de Latinos Unidos

The Affiliate of the Year Award is made possible through the generous support of Ford Motor Company Fund.

For this month’s Affiliate Spotlight, we travel to Philadelphia, home of our 2014 Affiliate of the Year, Congreso de Latinos Unidos. We caught up with them after the 2014 NCLR Annual Conference in July and asked them to answer five questions about who they are, what they do, and where they’re headed. Enjoy!

NCLR: What is the history and mission of Congreso? Who do you serve? What services do you provide?

Congreso: Our mission is to strengthen Latino communities through social, economic, educational, and health services; leadership development; and advocacy. Over the last five years we have served more than 56,000 unduplicated individuals. Sixty-five percent of our clients are Latino and 33% are Black. Our programs are diverse and include an associate’s degree program; afterschool programs reaching 800 students in grades K–12; GED classes and testing; a federally qualified health center; Pennsylvania’s first Latina domestic violence program; health promotion and wellness; financial literacy; housing counseling; social services; a K–8 dual language charter school; an HIV/AIDS program that conducts testing, provides prevention education, as well as medical case management and meals; and a partnership with the United Way to provide resources for the elderly.

NCLR: This year, Congreso was named NCLR’s Affiliate of the Year, a high honor from NCLR for exemplary work. What has receiving this award meant to the staff at Congreso? How will it shape how you do your work going forward?

Congreso: We are honored to receive the 2014 NCLR Affiliate of the Year Award. As an NCLR Affiliate since 2000, we have turned to this impressive network of Latino providers countless times for partnership opportunities, best practices, and peer exchanges. As a Top Workplace in the Philadelphia Region, our staff’s overwhelming response to what keeps them at Congreso is their direct impact on the Latino community. To be recognized for this work by a national organization, and specifically among the nearly 300 Affiliates who are equally impacting the lives of Latinos throughout the nation, was a meaningful honor. Moving forward, this award emphasizes our commitment to working with partners from all over the country. Fulfilling our mission to strengthening Latino communities is not confined to geographical boundaries, and if we can do so elsewhere by helping smaller nonprofits build their infrastructure or measure outcomes, we are thrilled to begin with the NCLR Affiliate Network.

NCLR: What do you think are some of the most pressing issues facing the community you serve? What do you think Congreso’s role is in helping to solve these problems?

Congreso: Residents of Congreso’s service area experience disproportionate rates of poverty compared to the rest of the city. Fifty-four percent of residents in zip code 19133 (where the majority of Congreso’s clients reside) are living in poverty. It also has the dubious distinction of having the lowest median household income ($14,586) in the city (The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2013). Our service area also shows other indicators of economic hardship, including one of the largest concentrations of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families recipients in Pennsylvania (PA Dept. of Public Welfare).

Since 2008, Congreso’s service area has also experienced a disproportionate fall in housing prices (The Pew Charitable Trust, 2011). Eastern North Philadelphia is encompassed in Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District and in 2011, 99,000 (61%) of children under age 18 lived below 150% of the federal poverty line (Kids Count Census Data, 2000).

Reinforcing these indicators of economic hardship, Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District, which encompasses this area, reported the highest rate of food hardship (31.2%) in the state and is ranked fourth highest in the nation (the national rate is 18%) (Food Hardship—Data for the Nation, States, 100 MSAs, and Every Congressional District, 2011). We are in the 10th poorest congressional district in the United States, and the poorest in Pennsylvania (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009).

In 37 years, Congreso has evolved to meet the diverse needs of this community. However, in addition to meeting their current needs, we use our client-centered Primary Client Model (PCM™) to build on the great capacity we see in this community to become self-sufficient, establish short and long-term goals, and provide a continuum of services that will help clients achieve them. Our strategies are both preventive and remedial. Faced with a 50–60% Latino dropout rate, for example, we founded an evidence-informed dropout prevention program at Edison High School, which only has a 38% high school graduation rate. Knowing that the barriers to graduation start long before 12th grade, we also founded a bilingual K–8 charter school to help solidify students’ educational aspirations before they reach high school. As our ability to influence their choices post eighth grade was affected by limited high-quality options, we are now pursuing the expansion of our charter to include a 9th–12th grade continuum.

NCLR: What major initiatives/campaigns are you gearing up for in the near future?

Congreso: Our 2015–2020 strategic vision includes:

  1. Expanding our K–8 charter school to include a high school. This includes launching a capital campaign to open the fourth building on our campus and developing the curriculum for a high-achieving charter high school.
  2. Extending our educational continuum to include early childhood education and Head Start.
  3. Growing our data consulting work, which currently serves nonprofits throughout the country.
  4. Continuing to expand our services outside of Philadelphia County. This past year, for the first time in its history, Congreso is providing direct services outside of Philadelphia. (our clients come from throughout the region, but this is the first time we are delivering services elsewhere).

NCLR: Where would you like to see Congreso go in the next 10 years?

Congreso: In 10 years, we hope to continue to strengthen Latino communities by expanding our programs, services, and thought leadership throughout the nation while growing our impact on the progress of Latino Philadelphia. In 37 years, we have developed a significant level of expertise in specific areas, and we want to help minimize the learning curve for smaller nonprofits in areas where Latinos are just now arriving and growing. There are many areas around the nation whose infrastructure is ill-prepared to deal with an influx of Spanish-speaking populations or who lack strong case management and outcomes measurement models. We are leaders in these areas, and want to be a resource for the ultimate benefit of Latino communities everywhere.

 

About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education, and American heritage and community life. The Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. The award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life program teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through the Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 25,000 Ford employees and retirees each year work on projects that better their communities in 30 countries. For more information, visit the Ford Motor Company Fund website.