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Driving a Latino Agenda

Our team has been very busy this year helping to identify the key issues facing our diverse communities, and crafting strategies alongside our partners and network of agencies to address them. Indeed, we have packed in a lot into a year: organizing congressional briefings in our headquarters, policy days in state capitals, community town halls, marches, advocacy trainings, large-scale conferences and summits, and working with our grassroots leaders to advance a change, unity and progress agenda. In total, we convened and mobilized more than 30,000 community leaders and advocates to drive a Latino agenda this year.

Here are just a few of the ways we have worked to protect and promote the interests of our community and nation.

In March, we hosted our annual Hispanic Education Summit (HES) -- one of the nation's premier gatherings of educational experts, community leaders, parents, students and policymakers committed to advancing best practices and needed reforms aimed at strengthening Latino student outcomes and opportunities. Over 250 community leaders, educators, parents, researchers and policymakers came together at the summit to help shape and drive an action agenda focused on supporting public schools and closing the achievement gap.

The work done at the HES has helped inform the launch of LEAD, an education coalition of diverse community leaders that is taking our educational change priorities and recommendations straight to legislators and policymakers.

In June, we also partnered with leading Latino academic research centers at The City University of New York to bring rigorous research to bear on some of our community's most pressing issues. The Summit on Latinos (SOL) Conference brought together the New York City Council leadership, the Hispanic Federation, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, and the Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute to address issues ranging from education to immigration to business development. More than 200 advocates, activists, and allies joined together for this one-day conference to examine the challenges and opportunities facing New York City's Latino community, assess policy priorities, and develop an action agenda for today and tomorrow.

In July, we organized a Congressional Delegation Briefing at our headquarters in NY to discuss policy issues with an amazing group of social justice leaders. HF is actively working with this group of African American, Latino, Asian, Muslim, and LGBTQ leaders to help shape a People of Color Agenda in New York and nationally.

In September, we presented our One Voice Advocacy Days event by convening 130 advocates in Washington to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill. Participants representing ten states and over 50 organizations met with more than 60 Congressional representatives to discuss issues such as immigration, civil rights, education equity and environmental justice.

In November, HF partnered with its network of member agencies and Lin-Manuel Miranda to organize a historic Unity March for Puerto Rico that brought more than 6,000 people to the nation's capital to demand a more robust response from federal authorities to the crisis on the island.

In December, we released our Somos Nueva York: The Road Ahead for Latino New Yorkers policy blueprint for New York City's elected leadership. The document was compiled in consultation with more than 100 community leaders in New York City. It presents over 300 reforms on a variety of HF priority issues including education, health, immigration, arts and culture, economic empowerment, environmental justice, nonprofit capacity-building, and women's and civil rights. This report is intended to inform policymakers about actions needed to strengthen New York City's Latino community.

Of course, this is just a small sampling of the work. The truth is that it takes a lot of effort to set and carry out an agenda that speaks to the hopes and aspirations of our children, families and institutions. It takes a consistent and steady dose of coalition-building, policy research, community outreach and engagement, and passion for justice and progress. It all comes together at the Hispanic Federation, and that is in no small part thanks to the dedication and leadership of our staff, grassroots agencies, donors and community partners.