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Setting the Agenda

In the face of the onslaught of bad news coming out of Washington, one might be forgiven for losing hope. From immigration to the lethargic response to Puerto Rico’s recovery to the attacks on voting and civil rights, it can seem at times as if the nation is perpetually in crisis. But as the old Spanish saying goes, “camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente.” In the face of these extraordinary challenges none of us can afford to rest. In fact, now more than ever, it’s time to organize and set an agenda of hope.

Over the first half of 2018, Hispanic Federation and its allies have increased our focus on building coalitions, staking out positions in public, and providing important information to policymakers about what matters most to Latino communities.

As a membership organization, we know that our agenda can only be as strong as our network of community-based organizations. Just as importantly, we have to recognize that our challenges in the Latino community don’t happen in a vacuum. Other communities of color face similar struggles and building meaningful coalitions across racial and ethnic lines increases our effectiveness and power. That’s why this year again we were pleased to work with the New York City Council to continue our Communities of Color Nonprofit Stabilization Fund (CCNSF). Created in 2015, the fund provides critical grants to nonprofit agencies in our communities that have traditionally been overlooked by government and private grantmakers. Through this initiative and others, we are in line so far this year to give out over two million dollars to support the vital work of a growing network of Latino nonprofits.

Finally, during the first half of 2018, we have increased our public presence on key policy issues. We have done that through legislative policy days in the capitals and cities of Connecticut, New York, Washington DC and Florida.

In addition, we are especially proud of the work we have done with the Power 4 Puerto Rico coalition. This national effort has been using advocacy, strategic communication, and direct mobilization to make sure that Puerto Rico’s post-Hurricane Maria recovery is fair and complete. Working with our partners during the last several months we have been able to meet with legislators in Washington and across the United States to push them to provide aid not only to the island but also the thousands of Puerto Ricans who fled the disaster and have settled on the mainland.

“There is so much bad new coming out of Washington that it’s easy to forget that we need to be proactive in explaining what we stand for,” said Hispanic Federation’s AVP for Policy Jessica Orozco. “We can’t just settle for reacting to bad policies, we have to go out and spread the word about what we should be doing as a nation. Hispanic Federation has emerged as a national voice of reason on issues such as immigration and the reconstruction of Puerto Rico, and that brings me a great sense of pride.”