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Fall 2022: Letter from the President & CEO

  ·  Sylvia Puente

Friends and neighbors, 

It's heartbreaking to learn about the growing number of victims in Florida due to Hurricane Ian. As rescue crews go door-to-door to search for survivors and help in recovery, I consider myself blessed in that my family is among the lucky ones. My father and his wife, who live in central Florida, sheltered in a hospital for two nights. I waited anxiously, not hearing from them, to learn that in their haste they had forgotten their phone at home.  It was an anxious two nights. I breathed a sigh of relief when I learned that they were finally home, and had minimal  damage. 

The suffering at the hands of monster storms is also being felt in Puerto Rico where many homes are still without power after Hurricane Fiona brought heavy rains to the island that has yet to overcome the devastation left behind by Hurricane Maria in 2017. 

The Forum applauds the efforts of the public and organizations like The Puerto Rican Agenda in Chicago that are coming to the aid, providing some relief to those who need it the most. And I want to personally acknowledge the devastation that occurred to those we know here in Chicago with family members and homes in Puerto Rico. 

To donate click here: The Puerto Rican Agenda. 

We also join the community in standing up and speaking out about the unfair treatment of asylum seekers and migrants who are being bused from Texas to Chicago. They must be treated safely and with respect. We applaud all the service providers and individuals stepping up to welcome these individuals after the perilous journey.  

To donate and volunteer click here: Helping New Arrivals From Texas. 

This latest crisis is demonstrative of our country's broken immigration system. Lawmakers must act now to fix an incredibly complicated structure that has been a historical political stalemate allowing for the abuse of those that are vulnerable. 

The Forum uses six principles to inherently guide its immigration advocacy work and its Theory of Change-- that all individuals living in the U.S, regardless of their country of origin, are recognized as valuable and contributing members of society, and have equal access to equity and prosperity. Please click on the link to learn more: Immigration Principles. 

On another note, I invite you to read the recent report, A ‘Great Resignation: Not Due to Latinos; Latinos Still Working the Essential Jobs and Earning Too Little, from the Latino Policy Forum and the Metropolitan Planning Council. In it, you will find five key policy recommendations that our organizations believe will help raise the floor for Latino workers while also strengthening the overall state economy.  

Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic, including “long COVID,” has created extensive and profound negative impacts on populations across the US and devastated the health landscape in many ways. At the same time, COVID has created a socioeconomic crisis that will likely negatively impact many Latinos and each of us for decades to come. This toxic constellation of complex COVID-related conditions requires significant attention and resource allocations.  

On October 19, the Forum in collaboration with Illinois Unidos will release the Long-Term Socioeconomic Consequences of COVID in the Latino Community: Creating a Path Forward report, with a foreword by The Brookings Institution. On that date, the Forum will join the Race, Prosperity, and Inclusion Initiative at Brookings for a webinar about the impact of long COVID-19 on Latino communities.  

To register click: HERE. 

This event brings together experts from Brookings Governance Studies Program and the Forum to discuss ways to address this burgeoning challenge. Researchers will present and summarize recent findings focused on the socioeconomic consequences of COVID for Latinos in the US.   

Viewers can submit questions for speakers by emailing events@brookings.edu or via Twitter at @BrookingsGov by using #LatinoFamiliesCOVID. 

As Latino communities navigate past the pandemic, the Forum will dive into the theme of building equitable pathways at this year's Latinos on the Move 2022: Driving Growth In Illinois, our annual policy lunch. I am thrilled that Dr. David Hayes-Bautista will join us as our keynote speaker. Recently, Dr. Hayes-Bautista collaborated on the 2022 Chicago Metro Latino GDP Report.  LINK HERE 

Were it not for Latinos, the state's population and workforce would have contracted. The group contributed more than $97 billion to Chicago's economy from 2010-2018, according to the report. The Forum is thrilled with the details of the Latino communities' wealth-making success, driven by swift gains in human capital and a strong work ethic. While the Forum joins others in celebrating the outcome of the 2022 Chicago Metro Latino GDP report, validating Latino economic empowerment, we raise concerns about a view that, while accurate, does not highlight the fact that the community is not getting their fair share of earnings from their contributions to the overall economic prosperity of cities, states, and nation.  

Join us next month at the Latinos on the Move 2022: Driving Growth In Illinois. The event will take place on Friday, November 4, 2022.  

To register, please click: HERE. 

In the meantime, I hope you are all enjoying the many different Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations as the monthlong event that acknowledges the many contributions of the Latino community comes to a close 

Wishing you peace and wellness.