The Latino Policy Forum is the only organization in the Chicago area that facilitates the involvement of Latinos at all levels of public decision-making. Its goals are to improve education outcomes, advocate for affordable housing, promote just immigration policies, and strengthen leadership within the community. The Forum conducts analysis to inform, influence and lead, with an understanding that advancing Latinos advances a shared future. The Forum’s 2014 accomplishments include:
- Armed parents and education stakeholders with knowledge to better advocate and participate in the state’s early learning arena. The Forum reached more than 2,000 community members through interactive workshops and informational publications that covered a range of topics including Common Core standards; Latino infant mental health; and demographic trends of English Language Learners.
- Shifted the mainstream narrative on Latinos in education, immigration, housing and equity through strategic communications. The Forum placed more than 778 mentions in print, broadcast and online in local, national, and international English- and Spanish-language media outlets including stories like the Chicago Sun-Times, “How to boost Latino vote influence” and WBEZ Morning Shift’s segment, “Illinois Latino Agenda weighs in on Springfield budget process.”
- Elevated the humanitarian efforts needed to support children fleeing violence and insecurity from Central America—through the Illinois Campaign to Protect our Children and Families, an emergency alliance that rallied elected, faith, business and civic leaders across Illinois; and with a Huffington Post blog that asks, “What’s Being Done to Ease Detained Children’s Trauma?” Of the thousands of Central American children detained at the U.S.-Mexico border this year, as many as 800 are less than five years old.
- Equipped nearly 2,000 grassroots leaders with advocacy skills to facilitate greater Latino civic participation in their respective communities. The Forum’s participant-centered trainings provide opportunities for leadership, peer education, support, and resources in fair housing, immigration policy and early childhood education.
- Doubled the number of participating parents—from 50 to 100—that traveled to Springfield, Illinois for the Forum's 6th Annual Early Childhood Education Advocacy Day. Advocates held 45 in-person meetings with state elected officials in one day.
- Empowered 1,275 newly registered voters to become an active voice in democracy by launching Voto X Voto, a voter-registration campaign. The campaign also raised public awareness of voter rights to 1 million people through traditional and social media.
- Strengthened a network of Latino-led, Latino-serving organizations by training the sixth cohort of the Illinois Latino Nonprofit Leadership Academy. 26 participants joined the Academy’s 100+ member alumni network.
- Increased transparency and paved a path towards greater diversity in state advisory bodies by ushering legislation that requires reporting on the ethnicity, gender or disability status of appointments made by the Governor.