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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 of the state budget impasse. Making matters worse, the state’s court-induced spending isn’t supported with adequate revenue. As a result, Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills now exceeds $8 billion and continues to grow every day. Alleviating this debt will create downward pressure on state spending for years, even with new revenue.

As negotiations continue among state leaders, it is imperative that you TAKE ACTION and demand that lawmakers pass a comprehensive budget before June 30 without precondition that includes new, sustainable forms of revenue. It’s not too late for your state legislators to make progress and get a deal done! Illinois children and families cannot wait until after the election to become lawmakers’ first priority. 

In addition to local concerns, there are national issues that weigh heavily on the hearts and minds of Latino residents in Illinois. Less than two weeks ago, the largest mass shooting in U.S. history claimed the lives of 49, predominately Latino, people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The Forum mourns for everyone affected by this tragic event and will continue to do its part to promote a just and inclusive society. In the wake of this horrific situation, I joined other Chicago-based leaders in a statement of solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

The other national situation at the forefront of our attention is the U.S. Supreme Court’s inability to reach a decision on the immigration executive actions announced by the Obama Administration on November 20, 2014 that would have allowed up to 5 million immigrants to apply for protection from deportation and work legally in the U.S.

With the 4-to-4 split in United States v Texas, the ruling of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (“DACA+”) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program (“DAPA”) stands –keeping the programs from going into effect. DACA+ proposed to remove the age cap of 31 years of age for immigrants to obtain temporary, renewable protection from deportation and apply for temporary work permits. The DAPA program would have granted deportation protection to millions of undocumented immigrants who have U.S. citizen or permanent resident children. To learn more, please read the Forum’s full statement on this situation.

Given the challenges confronting us, it is more critical than ever that we work together to hold elected officials accountable and to secure a more responsive government. The Forum and its partners will continue to pursue policy changes that improve the well-being of Latino residents in each of its issue areas. 

In addition, we would like to extend a warm thank you to Adriana Diaz, who after almost three years at the Forum has transitioned into a new role. We thank her for her commitment to maintaining the Forum’s presence and spreading the organization’s mission.

As always, we thank you for your continued support of our mission and our shared future. 


Sylvia Puente
Executive Director
PHOTO: Olga Lopez


Operation H.E.L.P.

The Forum and Operation H.E.L.P. participated in a Feria de Vivienda, or housing fair, on April 30 hosted by Proyecto de Acción de los Suburbios del Oeste (P.A.S.O.) and Interfaith Leadership Project.

Thirty Melrose Park families received information regarding loan modification scams, foreclosure prevention services, Fair Housing and Home Purchasing with DACA or an ITIN number. 

Main supporters included Boston Community Capital, The Private Bank and RE/MAX. Other participating agencies included Patricia Gutierrez Pascual’s Law PC, First Midwest Bank, Second Federal, Northwest Side Housing Center and Pinpoint Mortgage. 

Operation H.E.L.P. also participated at the “My Wellness, My Community Fair” June 25, at Erie Neighborhood House. The fair provided community members with wellness resources, educational workshops, health screenings and housing resources.

Looking ahead, Operation H.E.L.P. will be at this year’s Fiesta Del Sol’s Housing Pavilion, from July 29 to 30 from 10am to 2:30pm. The Housing Resource Pavilion will provide free housing resources and services to property owners and tenants. Experts from HUD certified housing agencies will share information about affordable housing, homeless prevention and fair housing.


Navigating DACA and Other Forms of Relief

The Forum continues to conduct DACA informational sessions with educational stakeholders and community members in suburban Cook County and DuPage County. The workshop is available in English, Spanish or Bilingual languages. For more information on the workshops, click here or review the Forum’s DACA Resource Packet. To learn more about navigating DACA and other relief, contact Immigration Education Associate Qoc’avib Revolorio.


The Latino Policy Forum is outraged at the Supreme Court’s inability to reach a decision on the immigration executive actions announced by the Obama Administration on November 20, 2014 that would have allowed up to 5 million immigrants to apply for protection from deportation and work legally in the U.S.  Please read the Forum’s full statement on this issue and stay informed via the Forum’s e-AlertsFacebook and Twitter.    

If you’re eligible, become a U.S. citizen. The New American Democracy Campaign is organizing workshops across the Chicagoland region to help eligible people apply for their U.S. citizenship in time to vote in the 2016 presidential elections. If you or someone you know is an eligible legal permanent resident, click the link above for details.

Student ACCESS Bill Update 

The Student Access Bill, SB2196, was approved by the Illinois House Higher Education committee by a 10-4 vote on May 11. The bill is in the process of moving to the Illinois House for a full floor vote. The timetable for a vote is to be determined as the entire Illinois State Legislature continues to grapple with the state budget crisis.  Martin Torres, Associate Director of the Forum, was on Adelante Chicago recently talking about the legislation and where it stands.  For updates, stay informed via Facebook and Twitter.

Special Report by NURP

The National UnDACAmented Research Project, in partnership with the Latino Policy Forum and other ally organizations released a special report on the economic obstacles faced by undocumented students attempting to access or remain in higher education in Illinois. The report, "‘How will I pay for it?’ Undocumented students and the barriers to college affordability" was led by Professor Roberto G. Gonzales of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. NURP is a multi-year national study that seeks to understand the impact of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on the lives of DACA eligible young adults. 


Early Childhood Education Advocacy Day

The Forum’s partners and advocates headed to the state capitol on April 20 to advocate for the fair tax amendment and early childhood education.  More than 10 organizations and 72 participants made the journey to Springfield, Illinois, visiting over 20 legislators. Parents shared emotional tales of their child’s progress and offered regalitos, or small gifts, to emphasize the positive results of funding early childhood education.

See photos of parents and advocates in action here. The conversation also continued on Twitter, engaging and informing audiences citywide. Check out the conversations here.

Abriendo Puertas

The Forum will continue to accept Abriendo Puertas Facilitator Training Institute applications until Friday, July 29. The Abriendo Puertas Training Institute will take place on August 17 to 19. For more information, please contact Natalie Vesga.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Throughout the last three months, the Education team has attended and hosted meetings, presentations and forums related to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In March, the Forum hosted the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education to craft recommendations for the state plan for ESSA which include a vision for promoting bilingualism and biliteracy.

As part of this work, the Forum has participated and provided testimony during ISBE Listening Tours. On June 10, the Forum hosted a panel featuring Claudio Sanchez, education correspondent from NPR, and numerous stakeholders to discuss ideas for improving education for English Learners EC-12. The results of the panel were incorporated into a brief regarding the new federal legislation.

The Forum also participated in a webinar hosted by Partners for Each and Every Child and collaborated with the Joyce Foundation, Stand for Children, Advance Illinois, Education First and other partners to promote key principles for state planning which is inclusive of English learners.

Budget Advocacy

Prior to the end of session in May, Education Manager, Karen Garibay-Mulattieri and Associate Director, Martin Torres testified in Springfield about the importance of increasing funding for both early childhood and bilingual education. Karen and Martin spoke with members of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations Committee regarding the tremendous challenges faced by school districts as they strive to meet the needs of a growing culturally diverse student population. In addition, the Forum and members of its early childhood education Acuerdo submitted written testimony to each committee in the House and Senate involved in the appropriations process surrounding early care and education in the state budget.   

ECE Acuerdo

The Forum welcomes the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago Patterson and McDaniel Family Center in Addison, Illinois as its newest early childhood education acuerdo member. Thank you for your commitment to the education of young children!


Multicultural Leadership Academy

The application period for Year 7 of the newly redesigned Multicultural Leadership Academy has officially closed. More than 60 civically-minded, multicultural leaders throughout Illinois have applied, the most applications received to date. The Forum is currently working to determine Year 7 cohort participants and is set to begin in early September.

The Forum sends a special thank you to leaders who participated in various committees, namely the advisory, resource and selection committees. For updates on the Academy, make sure to check the Forum’s website or contact Jessi Pérez.

American Bar Foundation

The American Bar Foundation is hosting a series of regional roundtables across the country for a new major research project, “The Future of Latinos in the United States: Law, Opportunity, and Mobility.” The first of these roundtables was held in Chicago the first week of June. Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Forum, served as a keynote speaker providing a presentation entitled, “Latinos in Illinois, Assets and Challenges.”

Recognizing Latino Leadership

The Forum would like to congratulate two Latino community leaders to be honored at Negocios Now “Who’s Who in Hispanic Chicago” Gala on July 8 at the Chicago Cultural Center.

  • Adela Cepeda, CEO at A.C. Advisory will be presented the Latina in Business Award for her exemplary contributions and leadership to the Latino community in Chicago. Adela served as co-chair for the Forum’s annual policy breakfast, Latinos on the Move.
  • Hipolito (Paul) Roldan, president of the Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, will be presented the Community Champion Award for his tireless commitment to equity and justice. Paul is the longest serving board member and founder of the Latino Policy Forum.


Headlines & Highlights

To see highlights and headlines, visit bit.ly/ForumHeadlines.

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