The voting rights ruling that came out on Saturday registered different reactions among the residents of East San Antonio. The 35th Congressional District was the region directly impacted. The voting was at a community empowerment summit that was held at Eastpoint. Here people stated that they were committed to bringing about changes in the political process. There was a passionate crowd that gathered at the Wheatley Community School. They advocated how the neighbors of Eastpoint will be assured of a better future.

The issues that were discussed were education, crime, and transportation. Most talked about the rights to equal representation that these issues should have. Especially when it came to the political spotlight on these issues, many key individuals associated with the process stated that they are hoping that this will bring about inside changes to the communities. Hence, community engagement is necessary. The kind of planning and strategic thinking that have taken place in the room was the first step to having the changes implemented.

The need of the hour is to ensure that the voters know which officials are being elected and to hold them accountable for the same. If the federal court takes up these matters, the process of judgment should be an inclusive one. The map of implementing the changes required should be realistic. It needs to include people and the people who vote should find that their votes and voices have an impact. Other members felt that success can only come about when there is consensus, collaboration, and commitment. When there is collaboration among communities, there would be more impact in any initiative that is taken up. There should be a joint consensus as to what the problems are and how one should address them. When such steps are taken, everyone would be in agreement and commitment would be easier to come by.

There was a statement issued by Lloyd Doggett, who is the Democratic Congressman. He holds the seat in District 35 that represents Eastpoint. He issued a statement, whereby he states that there might be court issues on boundary lines, but he remains committed to serving all constituents under him.

 

Growth Trends And Other Factors That Affect Latino Youth In US 

As per a report that was issued last year in September, there are certain challenges and trends that show up with respect to Latino children in America. About one-fourth of children in the US who are under the age of 18 usually are of the Latin community. It is projected that by 2050 there would be one-third of the child population of the country of this community. Among the 18 million Latino children who live in the US, about 95 percent have been born in the US.

Socioeconomic status

As Latino children are a significant segment of US population, the issues that they face need to be looked at carefully. The study showcased how their situation fares in the post-recession economy. The Latinos have gained appreciably in certain areas such as health insurance, teenage births, educational opportunities and youth incarceration. The Hispanic youngsters, however, lag behind in certain economic and social indicators. For instance, projections reveal that the lower income group among Latino youth will increase by about 45 percent. Hence inequality levels will increase in the future. The number could rise from 11 million to 16 million by the year 2050.

The socioeconomic disparities would reduce if the right policies are implemented. For instance, there are gaps in ethnicity as well as racial discrimination that affect economic opportunities for the Latino youth as well as education. There have to be steps that are taken to reduce such disparities. For instance, if the economic conditions improve of Latino parents then the opportunities open to children will also improve. Economic growth in the country will also be impacted when the workforce of well-qualified people improves in the country.

Pattern of Latino population growth

If the reasons are looked at how the Latino youth population has increased in the country, this can be attributed to two main factors. The first being the immigration of Hispanics to the US, the population that has moved from Mexico and Latin America. This group has now come to childbearing years, as compared to other ethnic or racial groups. US borders might be closed to new immigrants, but the Latino youth population still continues to rise. However, the fertility rate among Latinas has fallen over the years, but it is still higher than other communities. As per geographic distribution, the Latino population is higher in the west and southwest. This is especially around areas like New York, Miami, and Chicago. Till 2001 about 58 percent of Latino youth can be found in the states that lie in the Sunbelt such as Texas, New York, Florida, and California. Among these states, New Mexico and California state that stands out that have a major part of the Latino population. The three states, Texas, Florida and California have seen a rapid increase in the youth population of Hispanic origin between the years 2000 and 2015. This can be attributed to different factors like a rebounding economy, domestic and international migration, immigration trends in recent times and so forth.

 

Fears among immigrant families and students in San Benito have been allayed to a large extent as the high school district here has been declared a safe haven. This was a decision taken by the board members of the school district. The resolution has certain implications. It means that the board or the district will promote tolerance and elevate factors like kindness and inclusiveness for students who come from different communities or religious beliefs as well as even if they are of immigration status.

This resolution has been taken to allay fears among families and students who might feel threatened by the immigrant policy issues by the administration of Donald Trump. The agenda item was introduced by Shawn Tennebaum who is the interim superintendent. He stated that this topic is an important one in the state. Such a resolution needs to be taken across the state and hence, school districts adopting such a stance are the first step towards achieving the right environment for all. For instance, the State Superintendent of Public Instructions, Tom Torlakson, stated that all schools need to take a stance to ensure that they are safe havens for immigrant families and their children. This comes at a time when the presidential election has led to disruptive policies in these areas. There have also been reports that K-12 students have been harassed on the basis of their ethnic identities, immigration status and even on religious grounds. Tennebaum stated that there is strength in numbers and students need to be protected, even if the federal funds that would come towards supporting such policies might be uncertain till date. It is hoped that this district’s decisions will soon be replicated in other parts of California as well.

The immigration forum that was held in April this year helped allay many concerns that immigrant families have. The speakers encouraged the attendants to ask questions that might be in their mind and not hesitate. The forum was attended by Anna Caballero, the Assemblywoman, who came by to alleviate the fears and reservations of people at the center. She assured the listeners that she would fight for their issues. There were representatives of schools like the principal of San Benito and other authority figures like Krystal Lomanto who stated that steps would be taken to ensure that immigrant students felt protected in the schools.

There had been a similar forum that was held in February at the Hollister Community Center. Here there were educators, local law enforcement officers and elected politicians who came to the immigration forum organized by the San Benito County League of United Latin American Citizens jointly with Jimmy Panetta, the Congressman. The meeting in February was held when news came by that the ICE or Immigration and Customs Enforcement have relocated certain resources from San Jose to Morgan Hill. This was as per the immigration policies set forth by the Trump administration.

 

The policies that have been set forth by the president’s office has spread fear among individuals who are undocumented in different parts of the country. However, Panetta addressed the group and stated that, though there is a lot of confusion in DC and Hollister about addressing the immigrant issues, he felt that the community needs to do what is best for the people who are living in their immediate vicinities. The police chief and sheriff were also present at the forum. They stated that their departments were committed to protecting citizens. Irrespective of their status of immigration, they would get the protection that every legal citizen deserves. No matter what action is decided for immigration policies, the law would be followed which would not be impacted by an executive order. Hence, people and their properties would be protected. Immigration status would not affect the way municipal laws are implemented.

There was talk about how students and parents need to feel protected on the campus grounds. Anna Caballero spoke to the audience in Spanish and assured them that they would be protected and they should not have any concerns. LULAC would continue to get support from the local officials as well.

LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens is one of the oldest and largest Hispanic civil right organizations that exist in the nation. They condemned the threats that the Texas State representative, Matt Rinaldi issued against his colleagues. They called upon Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to step up as protests were happening. There were racist messages exchanged by his followers as well. Rinaldi started a shouting match in the Texas House of Representatives. He called upon the Latino lawmakers to get the SB4 protestors to be deported. The offensive taunt puts off several state representatives. Rinaldi even used terms like putting a bullet through the head of Poncho Nevarez. His followers issued racist statements as well. With such comments having been issued, it was time that LULAC stepped in and protested.

Roger C Rocha Jr., the national president of LULAC, stated that Rinaldi and the action of his colleagues were outrageous. They showcased the anti immigrant and race based rhetorics that are being used by many politicians these days. What is more troubling is that, the rhetorics are converted into law enforcement policies like SB4. With such policies in force the Texas authorities will be able to stop individuals simply based on skin color and ask for proof of citizenship to be displayed. The law will then encourage marginalization and also stereotype minority communities. Protesters gathered not only to side with the interests of the Latino community but also to show their disdain for SB4 in particular.

In the interests of Latino communities as well as to promote youth based programs across the state of California, LULAC has always been proactive. The organization even filed a lawsuit, first of the kin, against SB4 on May 8th. A small town by the borders of Mexico, El Cenizo, is known to be a safe haven since there has been an ordinance issued since 1999 to prevent city officials from inquiring into the immigration status of people here. The complaint was filed on their behalf on grounds that such a policy violates US constitution.

The above stance taken by LULAC showcases a strong support of a council to promote and protect the rights of Hispanic families and the youth. There have been recent forums held where concerns about immigration laws under the new presidential regime were also discussed. While federal grants might be affected by such policies, however, LULAC and other bodies working with local communities to ensure that they provide a safe environment for the individuals of different racial and ethnic communities, especially the Hispanic community. With changing political agendas that can adversely affect the wellbeing of these communities, having an umbrella organization to look after them is vital in different states.

backpack-bonanza-2015-5-jpgWould you believe that there are over 1.2 million school aged children and youth that are homeless in the United States? The number of children who are homeless seems to be skyrocketing all over the nation. It is important for our communities to come together to help these students have an academic year that is successful.

One way the community can help is through the volunteer program called Operation Backpack.  This program helps the children of homeless families prepare for the school year by giving them the supplies they need for school in order to help them achieve success in their education. The volunteers at Operation Backpack put together new backpacks with school supplies that are donated for kids from elementary to high school. This program finds churches, institutions, businesses (like your local roofers), offices, and schools that are able to provide the backpacks and supplies, or collect donations, for those in need. When these places host a drive, it allows more individuals that chance to be a part of the community effort.

Those who participate in the drive can place a box in view of the public where items can be dropped off, raise money through different projects for the operation, or put together backpacks themselves with items needed. It is always best to advertise the backpack drive on public spaces such as Facebook, Google+, or other spaces. This is a great way to get a lot of involvement from family, friends, and the community, all working towards one cause, helping the less fortunate.

One of the parts of the LULAC mission is to help the Hispanic population in the advancement of education. There are a lot of ways to do this. Addressing the issues in the system of education with policies is important, but the need for efforts by the community can help with a lot of the local level disparities seen. Operation Backpack is one of the many programs in the United States that can help kids that are homeless and make a difference in the outcome of a student’s education, whether they are in elementary or high school. This issue is something that is dealt with by over a million families and children around the nation, so I strongly encourage helping children throughout the community by providing them with the tools that are necessary to ensure they have educational success now and in the future.

 

 

For the majority of my life, I have been wondering about my roots and family heritage. I had been moved around ten times by the time I was ten years old, making me feel a disconnect with my culture and a complete lack of stability. I entered the foster care system at the age of ten because my father was deported, There were a lot of challenges that I faced as a Mexican-American foster child. I was not sure of my heritage and grew up in a very mixed environment of Caucasians, African Americans, and Hispanics.  I had a hard time fitting into any of the groups and could not fully identify with any one culture since I didn’t grow up with a family that was defined.

412manuel-master675It was confusing for me to move from one home to another. I constantly struggled with trying to figure out each family’s way of life. I was left with only vague memories from my own culture because of being in foster care for so long. I had a few memories from my parents, but those faded over my years in the foster care system.

Eighty-five percent of the students I graduated high school with were Caucasian. Because of that, I did not have a lot of opportunities to interact with other Latinos while in foster care. This made it a lot more difficult to express myself as a Latino since my fellow peers expected me to act “American” rather than Latino. I struggled with trying to figure out if I was fully American of fully Mexican. I constantly felt like I was caught in a current that I didn’t have the ability to swim against.

It is difficult, at times, to have to deal with the fact that people think I know Spanish because of how I look, or that I must have a big family since that is how society perceives Latinos in a stereotypical way. Because of my environment and the stereotypes,  I had a very hard time discovering my Latino identity. It seemed others were the ones defining my identity and roots because those roots were removed from me. I didn’t have many opportunities to explore myself as a Latino. I never saw my father again after he was deported to Mexico, so I felt that my Mexican heritage connection was lost forever.

LULAC has helped me to make some connections that I need to get back to my roots. I can’t thank them enough for being a part of my life and helping me to find myself as a Latino.

In order to understand how your job, bank account, and community are affected by the global economy, it is important to understand the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, since it is a free trade pact that is one of the most comprehensive of the 21st century.

e8txgucIt is unfortunate, though, that we don’t have a lot of information to go on. There are only a few people that can see the entire agreement, and under tight security.  Those people include the representatives of some American companies, the Trade Ambassador, the President, and the members of Congress. All of those people are forbidden from publicly speaking about the specifics of the TPP too. The brief outline given on the TPP states that, if passed by the countries that are part of it, it would reduce taxes on exports and imports and it would mandate universal trade standards.

In 2011 was the most recent action on these types of agreements by LULAC. This action was in opposition of some trade agreements, through a resolution passed by our members, between the United States and Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Instead of these agreements, we advocated for a new trade policy in the US that creates sustainable jobs for those in the United States and the other countries that are trade partners, along with living wages, while also promoting access to services that are essential, a healthy environment, labor standards, human rights, and democracy.

Free trade deals are seen by businesses as a way to lower their costs all the way down their supply chain. Unfortunately, though, rapid economic changes come with human costs that affect some groups of people more than it does others. Despite all of the other issues with TPP, our opposition is due to this basic fact.

In the eyes of labor advocates, these free trade agreements are a way for large corporations to skip taxes, fire workers, and skirt the laws. The environmentalists fear that it doesn’t discourage issues like poaching, logging, and over fishing. All of these groups, though, understand that any trade agreement will affect the livelihoods of people.

For any nation to thrive, trade is important. In fact, it is so important, that the nation of North Korea is the only nation that has claimed to be fully self sufficient. This is, no doubt, a model that is extreme and not sustainable for growth. LULAC, being an action organization, has the belief that the best system of trade is one that is equitable, deliberate, and clear. We back the scrutiny by the public of not only the TPP, but the trade policy of the United States itself for the benefit of people from all backgrounds.

LULAC not only works with civic and religious groups, but also works alongside the Unite for Marriage Coalition. The UMC is an organization that works with a strong contingency of Latinos, including the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the Latino GLBT History Project, and Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement for their LGBT flagship organizations such as The National LGBTQ Task Force ant the Human Rights Campaign. There is usually a pretty strong presence of Latino’s at the rallies, especially those Latino supporters that are part of LULAC.

pride-centerjpgOn both the national and local level, LULAC has been advocating on the forefront for LGBT rights. LULAC National, since 2008, has been issuing resolutions that are member approved that support the repealing of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, supports legislation against hate crimes, and endorses an Employee Non-Discrimination Act that is fully inclusive. When LULAC shows up at the rallies in strong numbers, it is another example of the support they have that is unwavering towards inclusive policies for every Latino. Because of this, support has been given for five new LULAC LBGT councils throughout the United States.

Since Latino families do not fall into one category of fit a specific mold, it is a natural step to support marriage equality through LULAC. The Latino families are diverse and often include aunts, uncles, cousins, sons, and daughters that identify themselves as LGBT. When they want to get married to the one they love, discrimination is not something our family members should have to face. It is a great thing for LULAC to support and embrace their members that are LGBT and make a commitment to ensure that they receive the protections and civil rights that everyone else does.

Despite the labels that are used towards us by others to divide us, through this lens, we will get closer and closer to achieving the mission of LULAC by advancing the housing, political influence, educational attainment, economic condition, civil rights, and health of all Latinos, regardless of their affiliations.

 

female_graduateAs we seek to help Latino students enter the job force with jobs that are higher paying, it is imperative that the options for higher education after high school within the different career options are presented to the students in their early high school days. Students can explore their options through the help of the high school’s academic counseling so they have a road map to follow when they graduate. The Senate Bill #451 in California was an attempt to take the position of the school counselor and expand it, having them to put more focus on vocational and career counseling in addition to academic counseling. There was, however, not enough resources that were adequate to help them to make this change that was needed. Because of the ways that the public schools receive their funding, the opportunities presented to each school was not the same.  It could potentially be a very positive resource to the students, though, if the funding was the same across the board.

Public school funding varies based on the location of the school. The higher income communities tend to receive more funding in comparison to the lower income communities due to the public funds sources. Public schools in the United States receive their funding from local, state, and federal sources. Local property taxes provides around half of the funds, though, making the different communities have discrepancies. Opportunities for students receiving these resources that are beneficial decrease as the funding decreases.

The discrepancies in public school funding creates limits on the school resources that can be provided which affects the students attending the low income schools greatly. For the low income communities, the counseling is even more important to provide the students options for them to follow once they graduate. Fortunately, there are some programs that have been put in place by stakeholders in the communities that can help the students to learn about the opportunities of higher education and help them to become leaders in the community.

A quick online search will bring up a few of these programs that are available.