Posts By Sylvia Puente

Dear Friends,

This Fall feels as if it’s a time of wonderful and frightening transitions. The days grow shorter, the skies get darker, the weather gets colder and the kids are back in school. The worlds challenges are difficult and testing our resolve.

Many of us have had family or people we know impacted by the hurricanes that have devastated Caribbean Islands, Texas and Florida, the California wildfires and the earthquakes causing widespread havoc in Mexico. As of this letter’s writing, we’re keeping our brothers and sisters in Caribbean in our hearts as Hurricane Maria bears down on Puerto Rico.... Continue Reading

Statement by Forum Executive Director Sylvia Puente

The Latino Policy Forum congratulates Juan Salgado on being named the new Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago and commends Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City College Board on wisely  choosing a strong leader who will act in the best interest of all students in these challenging times of funding shortages for higher education.

Juan is a longtime friend and ally of the Forum and as CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino has been  involved in the Forum’s Latino Agenda.  He has been instrumental in building award-winning innovative job training programs at Instituto that provide working families a path to economic security. We look forward to his continued success at City Colleges.... Continue Reading

A Statement from Sylvia Puente, Executive Director, Latino Policy Forum on the 2016 Election:

The Presidential Election ushered in unprecedented levels of Latino participation in the electoral process. Preliminary data suggests there were surges in Latino early voting and overall turnout this year. This enthusiasm must be celebrated and harnessed into ongoing participation in civic life.

The political evolution of the Latino electorate has also produced gains in elected office at the state and federal levels. The U.S. Senate will seat the first Latina in our nation’s history following the election of Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada. In Illinois, Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza won her election to serve as the next Comptroller, a critical statewide office that facilitates the disbursement of Illinois... Continue Reading

Fall 2016 Newsletter

  ·  Sylvia Puente

Dear Friends,

As we all know, our beautiful state of Illinois is struggling and our nation is locked in a presidential debate that I believe will define the soul of our increasingly diverse, pluralistic society.  On the days, when I ask what else can  the Forum do? 

I start with going back to the facts, leveraging our electoral power, and strengthening the web of communication and relationships to find strategies and solutions. This letter provides the facts around the myths that are being perpetuated on immigration by a leading presidential candidate, and while the Forum is a non-partisan organization, we encourage you to VOTE.  Election Day... Continue Reading

Posted In: Education, Infant & Toddler Services , K-3, Parent Engagement, Preschool, Families & Communities, Housing, Foreclosure, Housing Education, Affordable Housing, Homelessness, Immigration, Immigration Reform & Policy, Immigrant Integration, Leadership, Strengthening Leadership, Representation in Government, State Investment, Access & Resources, Educators

This op-ed was originally published in Crain's Chicago Business. See full article here

After Donald Trump's much touted immigration speech last month—the one many anticipated would signal a softening of his immigration stances in order to attract Latino voters—I was left even more puzzled than before about his true intentions. 

Trump's rhetoric was softened from prior to his visit to Mexico, but the underly
ing racism was still dripping from his speech. As his followers chanted their support, the Republican nominee went down a list of victims of violent crimes perpetrated by undocumented immigrants from south of our border. While these were terrible crimes, he chose not... Continue Reading

Posted In: Immigration, Immigration Reform & Policy, Immigrant Integration, Leadership

Summer 2016 Newsletter

  ·  Sylvia Puente

Dear Friends,

Despite the festivities and warmth that make this time of the year special for everyone, there’s a cloud hanging over the state brought on by the failure of government officials to pass an operating budget at the end of the state legislature’s spring session for the second straight year. 

While much of state government continues to function through court orders and consent decrees, children and families are unnecessarily suffering due to the lack of state funding for human services and higher education.  According to a recent survey conducted by the United Way of Illinois, nearly 1 million people are without services because... Continue Reading

Posted In: Education, Infant & Toddler Services , K-3, Parent Engagement, Preschool, Families & Communities, Housing, Foreclosure, Housing Education, Affordable Housing, Homelessness, Immigration, Immigration Reform & Policy, Immigrant Integration, Leadership, Strengthening Leadership, Representation in Government, State Investment, Access & Resources, Educators
This blog post was originally published in the NiLP Report on Latino Politics and Policy February 22, 2016. The NiLP Report asked a number of Latino opinion leaders across the United States to respond to the issues raised by journalist Roberto Suro in his January 2nd New York Times opinion piece, "Whatever Happened to Latino Political Power?"
As it seems to happen every election year—Latinos as a voting bloc suddenly become the 'it' topic for national conversation. Big media and political pundits take turns musing over why Latinos are 'stuck' on the issue of immigration; the root of their apathy for candidates on either side of the party... Continue Reading

"[Let's] make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind," President Barack Obama said in his call to action for universal pre-K.

And as Latinos have the lowest preschool attendance rate of any group in the U.S., there's ample opportunity for the president's call to focus on boosting access for these young learners. There's also urgency: Illinois Latinos are up to six months behind their peers in cognitive measures before they even begin kindergarten, the start of a gap that develops into frustratingly low high school graduation rates. (This national report points to an eight-month gap for Mexican-American kids.)

I applaud the spirit of the federal plan to connect all American children with high-quality... Continue Reading

Posted In: Education, Access & Resources

This time last year, my hometown of Chicago was poised to make headlines across the country as Chicago Public Schools (CPS) was on the verge of one of its most tumultuous school years in recent history, kicking off with a tense teacher strike and wrapping up with the heartbreaking closure of nearly 50 community schools. The eyes of the nation were fixed on our corner of Illinois -- not just to follow the controversy, but also because as one of the country's global, diverse cities, Chicago is litmus test of educational realities across the country.

This blog was originally posted on the Huffington Post. Click here for the full entry. 

Continue Reading
Posted In: Education

The Senate passed S744, the immigration reform bill, with a bipartisan vote of 68-32 this afternoon. Today’s vote punts legislation over to the House of Representatives. While S744 passed with much to celebrate—a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, an opportunity for the reunification of families of those who have already been deported, and encouraging provisions for DREAM-eligible childhood arrivals—it also included several troubling amendments, most notably provisions for a “border surge” that will pump an additional $30 billion into border security and a double the number of agents along the US-Mexico border. Today’s victory is bittersweet, leaving advocates wrestling with a difficult reality: supporting immigration reform increasingly means also supporting increased militarization along our southern border.

While the... Continue Reading

Posted In: Immigration Reform & Policy, Immigration
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