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By Cristina Pacione-Zayas, PhD.

Director of Policy at the Erikson Institute

It’s nearly seven months since the infamous Category 4 Hurricane Maria delivered a devastating blow to the topography and already economically fragile “Isla del Encanto,” Puerto Rico.  The island of over three million U.S. citizens has undergone the longest period of recovery in the history of the Red Cross as confirmed by a representative during a humanitarian visit I joined in March with a delegation from Chicago including Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez. The trip delivered over 5,000 in medical supplies and solar panels in addition to $43,000 in... Continue Reading

Posted In: Families & Communities

Latino Policy Forum Communications Manager

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin sat across the table from the young community organizer as she choked back tears and admitted that many DACA recipients like herself, who she works with in the south suburbs, are seeing their American dreams fade away.  

“We are tired and we are lost,” Elizabeth Cervantes, cofounder of Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project, told the senator from Illinois who authored the original DREAM Act. “So you’d think that after all we have experienced we can take any reality we are facing. And so I ask humbly, yet firmly for an honest analysis of what’s next this year... Continue Reading

TESOL International Association (TESOL), a global association representing approximately 12,000 English language educators worldwide, awarded Rebecca Vonderlack-Navarro with TESOL’s 2018 Outstanding Advocate Award. The award is presented annually to a public official or other individual outside the TESOL profession that has advocated for English learners, ESL instruction, and English language educators. Rebecca was nominated for this honor by Illinois Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages – Bilingual Education (ITBE) for her work in advocating for the needs of all Latinos and English learners, and ensuring they receive access to high quality education programs throughout Illinois.

Rebecca Vonderlack-Navarro manages the Latino Policy Forum’s Education team. With a focus on birth to third grade issues, the Forum’s education agenda... Continue Reading

Dear Friends,                         

As Illinois slowly transitions into springtime weather, we look forward to the longer days with more sunshine, blooming flowers and fresh changes. Upon reflection however, the Forum is  excited to have launched the second cohort of the Multicultural Leadership Academy, which brings together Latino and African American community leaders for intercultural collaboration and leadership building. The academy is the Forum’s initiative to strengthen relations between black and brown communities in Chicagoland for equity for all in Illinois. You’ll hear that slogan, equity for all, more in the months to come, so stay tuned.

The Forum... Continue Reading

Working class Illinoisans are struggling. According to the Heartland Alliance, over a third of all Illinoisans live in poverty or are considered low-income. In order to afford a simple one-bedroom apartment, they must work an average of 81 hours per week.

Currently, 20 percent of Latinos in Illinois are living in poverty, so the state’s imbalanced tax system is directly burdensome on them.  

These facts serve as the reason why the Latino Policy Forum is calling on the state Legislature to take action and adopt an amendment that creates a new fair tax. This new system would push our economy in the right direction and make life easier... Continue Reading