Posts By Sylvia Puente

Friends and neighbors,

As days of summer are upon us, and our mood and psyche hopefully lighten as we emerge from the worst of the pandemic, we cannot forget that the impact of COVID-19 on the Latino community will be long-lasting.

As I’ve stressed before, given the high prevalence of COVID among Latinos (over 10 percent of Illinois Latinos have been infected), if even a fraction of those infected show long-term symptoms, it will have a debilitating impact on our health system and on many of our families. Keep in mind that a preponderance of those cases have been to young, working Latinos. The mortality rate among... Continue Reading

Dear friends and allies of the Latino Policy Forum, 

As you likely know, since March 2020 the Forum has been reporting on the cumulative rate of COVID cases and deaths by race and ethnicity. That cumulative data illustrates the horrific toll that COVID has taken and continues to take on the Latino community. As indicated in the data, there are more than 10,000 cases of COVID for every 100,000 Latinos in Illinois. Said another way, approximately 10 percent of Latinos in Illinois have or have had COVID, which is a rate 59 to 164 percent higher than it is for any other racial-ethnic group.

I wanted to share a new analysis that provides a quarterly summary of the rate of... Continue Reading

Dear friends and neighbors,

I hope that you’re finding some slivers of light in this trying year. In the spirit of helping each other, I thought I’d share a couple that I’ve found for myself.

Over the past few months, I’ve taken some time to reflect on the changes to our societal landscape that this moment has catalyzed. There are two reflections in particular that have filled me with optimism and hope. Both of these lessons came from young voices in the street, and both have to do with bringing important, previously taboo subjects into mainstream conversation.

I’ve spent my entire career—nearly 50 years, if I go back to my youth as an activist—in pursuit of... Continue Reading

To read this article in English, click here.

Los datos no dejan lugar a dudas: Las comunidades de color de Illinois se han visto afectadas de manera desproporcionada por el COVID-19. La pandemia ha asestado un golpe devastador especialmente a la comunidad latina. En la actualidad, los latinos suman el mayor número de casos reportados, así como el porcentaje mayor de resultados positivos en las pruebas realizadas. 

Sólo hace falta observar los números relativos al empleo para entender cómo hemos llegado a esta situación. Sólo el 16 por ciento de los latinos puede trabajar desde casa, la tasa más baja de entre todos los grupos étnicos y raciales. Esto supone un... Continue Reading

This is an op-ed republished from Crain's Chicago. Click here to read this article on Crain's.

Para ver este articulo en español, haga clic aquí.

The data is clear: Illinois communities of color have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The pandemic has been an especially devastating blow for the Latino community, which now has the most reported positive cases in the state, as well as its highest percentage of positive test results.

Take a look at the numbers behind the work lives of Latinos, and it’s not hard to see how this happened. Only 16... Continue Reading

Friends and partners,

I wish you and your loved ones peace, resiliency, and fortitude during this challenging time.

The Forum’s staff, as you probably already know, is currently working from home due to the coronavirus outbreak. After a short adjustment period, we’re now settled into our new home offices and regular teleconference meetings. But here’s what hasn’t changed: We remain as available as ever to you as a resource for accurate, reliable information and analysis on issues affecting the Latino community in Illinois, and this global crisis is certainly no exception.

Right now, you can visit our website for a wide-ranging list of COVID-19 resources that we’re updating every day. These include the latest facts... Continue Reading

Editor’s Note: This letter is a version of Executive Director Sylvia Puente’s speech at the Forum’s annual policy fundraiser, Latinos On The Move 2019.

Every few years, there’s a buzz in the philanthropy community that dominates the conversation. It leads to a shift in thinking, in doing, and in how we approach the challenges before us.

That buzz term is “racial equity.” So, I wonder, how are Latinos being folded into the conversation around this idea? Of course, I believe Latinos should be included in any conversation surrounding racial equity, but I have been at a few tables where this was not the case and where we were an afterthought.

Is it because the Latino community seems to be thriving?... Continue Reading

As a 10-year-old, I was acutely aware of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights efforts that he championed.

The notion that all human beings are entitled to fairness, justice and equity deeply resonated with me.

It became personal when I realized injustices had impacted my own family, who were farm workers at the time.

It compelled me to seek justice and walk my first picket line for the United Farm Workers at the age of 13.  

I could not sit by while people experienced unfairness and injustice based on their race/ethnicity, the circumstances they were born into, or challenges they faced to eek out a living.  

As a result, I spent... Continue Reading

I first went to work in Springfield in 1982 on a fellowship in the governor’s office. At that time, there was just one Latino in the Legislature and one that worked in the governor’s office. While we celebrate the great strides our Latino community has made, at the same time, please know that we at the Latino Policy Forum recognize there still is much more to be accomplished.


Today Latino representation in state government is at an all-time high. In the first months of 2019, Latino appointments have included:

  • As Deputy Governor, Jesse Ruiz, a longtime Forum ally on public education issues, and Sol Flores, a Forum co-founder and former board chair.
  • Aurora Rep. Linda Chapa... Continue Reading

The final days of December are always a time for us at the Latino Policy Forum to reflect on the successes we have had and the challenges we have faced. We know, too, that as we enter the new year, there will be new opportunities that we are ready to accept.

As most of you know, 2018 marked the Forum’s 10th anniversary, and I’d like to thank the founders and supporters who have stood by us this past decade. We stand on your shoulders and vision, which is rooted in the era of Mayor Harold Washington more than 35 years ago. It was then, in the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Latino Affairs (MACLA), that the seeds were planted to create... Continue Reading

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