Fighting Hate through Humor: NCLR Affiliate Latin American Coalition

Bananas While the Latin America Coalition, an NCLR Affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina, is no stranger to threats and extreme xenophobic opposition, its response to a nativist Neo-Nazi/KKK rally creatively fought hate with humor.

Supporters of the Latin American Coalition and other pro-immigration organizations dressed as clowns, wore giant banana suits, and honked horns at the racist rally, easily outnumbering the KKK protesters by five to one.

Their message?  Racism is ridiculous.

For a little pick-me-up, check out this wonderful blog post by the Coalition’s Executive Director, Jess George, on how her organization deals with hate mail and the negativity they receive on a daily basis.  Sometimes you’ve just got to “Laugh to Keep from Crying.”

Laugh to Keep From Crying

By Jess George, Executive Director, Latin American Coalition (Charlotte, North Carolina)

Last Friday was an exciting day. We got two hate mail letters. Continue reading

We’re a Unified Voice for Communities

By Jesus Altamirano, Regional Field Coordinator, Colorado

Not much can keep our Affiliates down when they band together.

Our Colorado Affiliates know this well. Recently, NCLR Affiliates El Comite de Longmont, Scholar-to-Leader Academy, GOAL Academy, and Mi Casa Resource Center, descended on Denver to speak to U.S. Senators Mark Udall (D) and Michael Bennet (D) about the impact of the impending debt crisis, the so called “fiscal cliff.” Like NCLR, our Colorado Affiliates are concerned about the effects extreme cuts would mean to the millions of American Latino families who rely on vital social services and they expressed just that to their senators.

Kudos to our Colorado Affiliates for being champions for communities! Check out some photos of their advocacy below and then tell us what the impending fiscal cliff crisis could mean to you.

Colorado advocates in their meeting Colorado advocates outside the meeting Colorado advocates in their meeting

What If….

A critical part of closing the education gap in America is college readiness.  As part of our committment to this, and with generous support from our sponsors, we have developed the “What If? NCLR College Readiness Initiative.” The idea is simple: What if every Latino student got the support needed to succeed in college and beyond?

Currently, we are running a contest that challenges students at our charter school network to answer that question through the use of video. The video contest gives kids the chance to speak up for their generation. Below is the first entry by Angel Damian, a student at George.I. Sanchez High School, an NCLR-affiliate charter.

Watch the video and then vote!

Looking at Health Through the Eyes of Our Youth

Judith Santibanez is one of the youth exhibiting this Saturday.

Growing up in neighborhoods where green spaces are almost nonexistent and food choices amount to bodegas and takeout menus makes eating and living healthy much harder.  Making the conscious decision to live a more balanced lifestyle is certainly commendable, but it only works when the necessary elements are available and accessible.  For too many Latino communities, those elements are not in place and families are forced to choose from unhealthy options that only worsen the burgeoning obesity and diabetes rates among Hispanics, especially our youth.

It’s going to take Latinos working together to ensure that our kids live long, healthy lives.  That’s why we’ve teamed up with Sodexo, ConAgra Foods, and two of our Affiliates, Alivio Medical Center and Gads Hill Center, to present Reflejos de mi comunidad:  comida y estilo de vida (Reflections of My Community:  Food and Lifestyle), a project designed to assess the barriers that prevent low-income, inner-city Latino youth from healthy eating and active living.  The project also aims to engage parents in creating a healthy lifestyle for their whole family.  And we’re starting this weekend!

On Saturday, we’re hosting a community event at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago.  We’ll be showcasing a youth photo exhibit that Chicago teens have produced to illustrate the challenges they face in accessing healthy foods.  You’ll have an opportunity to meet some of the students themselves and you’ll get to know more about what we do to improve the health of our Latino youth.

Check out the photos below of some of the other youth who will be exhibiting. Come see the rest on Saturday!

Jessica Hernandez

Mohammed Mohammed

Junior Flores, Eddie Ramirez and “Marie”