Hispanic Heritage Month: Organizations Advocating for Latinos in the US

By: Valeria Ricciulli

Celebration of Hispanic Heritage, which commemorates the culture, history, and contributions of Hispanics living in the United States, ensues today.  The U.S. Census reports Latinos are poised to become the largest minority in the U.S. and account for nearly 17% of its population. Moreover Latinos account for $1.5 trillion of annual purchasing power in the U.S., according to the Latino Donor Collaborative, not to mention they’ll soon account for 40% of employment growth according to the Wall Street Journal. Yet they are often discriminated against, referred to as ‘illegals,’ all while threatened by unfair policies that deny them opportunities they not only deserve, but pay for.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage month, here’s a list of organizations that empower the Latino community and where you can volunteer, join, donate, contribute, and participate:

  1. Hispanic Federation

In 2015 this national organization served 75,000 individuals and families in the U.S. through free legal assistance, education, advocacy, and health campaigns. One of their most successful programs is setting up help lines to answer people’s questions about immigration law, the elections, and local policies in their cities.  They also offer hundreds of scholarships to Latino youth who qualify for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.)


  1. Make The Road

If you prefer donating to local non-profits, contribute to Make The Road New York. They advocate for the rights of Latino workers and offer educational seminars – such as their upcoming small business workshop. Make The Road also provides free immigration assistance and advocates for the rights of immigrants at a local level: organizing rallies, attending conferences, and speaking to council members. One of their most valuable programs is their Adult Literacy, providing English language courses to 1,700 adults annually.


  1. Hispanic Access Foundation

Hispanic Access empowers Latinos through health, education, finance, and environmental programs. Located in more than 10 states around the country, they organize grassroots events, hold helpline sessions for assistance, and advocate for Latino rights in a national level. A recent example is their Parks For All campaign, to ensure that Colorado’s public lands are protected and accessed by young Latinos- in celebration of the National Park Service centennial.


         4. Latina Institute for Reproductive Health 

Empowering women means empowering a society and that’s what the National Institute for Reproductive Health does through advocacy, education and forums. They advocate for Latina women’s access to quality healthcare, including reproductive services. One of their most recent campaigns, I Am/Yo Soy, is aiming at ending stigma around sex education, birth control, and abortion within the Latino community.

About Valeria Ricciulli

Valeria Ricciulli is a New York based Colombian journalist. She currently covers real estate, architecture, and infrastructure at Vox Media's Curbed NY. Previously, she worked as a breaking news reporter for DNAinfo.com, and as a digital news intern for El Diario New York, covering crime, local politics, health, and culture. She's currently pursuing an M.S. in Media Management at The New School.

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