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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    December 8, 2010

    Contact:
    Paco Fabián
    (202) 785-1670
     

    Historic Vote Shows Where Members Stand Regarding Latinos, Sensible Solutions


    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, lauds the passage tonight of the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act” in the U.S. House of Representatives. NCLR strongly urges senators to support the counterpart bill that will be taken up in the Senate tomorrow.

    “This is an historic moment for the Latino community. For years, we have fought for this long overdue day. Congress saw an overwhelming outpouring of support for the ‘DREAM Act’ from business, military, religious, civil rights, and education leaders from throughout the country, as well as incredible leadership from young students,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “We are grateful for the dogged efforts of Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D–IL), Xavier Becerra (D–CA), and Nydia Velázquez (D–NY), as well as their colleagues on the Judiciary, the Tri-Caucus, and the Progressive Caucus. We also thank House Leadership and the Obama Administration for their support in getting to a successful vote, and the courageous Republicans who did the right thing.”

    The “DREAM Act” will allow young members of our society—who were brought here as children through no decision of their own, have grown up in our country, demonstrated good character, and excelled academically—to earn legal residence by serving in the military or completing two years of college. The measure was endorsed by the fiscal year 2010–2012 Strategic Plan for the Department of Defense’s Office of the Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness to help the military “shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force.”

    “We urge the Senate to follow the House’s lead in passing this modest, sensible legislation. They should also act, as the House did tonight, in the best interest of our community, our economy, and our country. Latinos will remember this vote,” concluded Murguía.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    December 9, 2010

    Contact:
    Paco Fabián
    (202) 785-1670


    Historic House vote for “DREAM Act” builds new momentum in Senate

    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today applauded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s move to table the Senate vote on the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act” until next week. The procedural maneuver will provide sponsors and advocates the opportunity to garner the remaining few votes of the 60 needed to pass the bill in the Senate. The Senate’s action came on the heels of the House passage of the “DREAM Act” last night.

    “The historic vote in the House of Representatives has sent a clear message to the Senate that it too needs to pass the ‘DREAM Act,’ said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía. “The bipartisan support from courageous House members such as Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R–FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R–FL), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R–FL) should signal to Senate Republicans that they should stop hiding behind process and do the right thing by their constituents and by their country,” stated Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO.

    “The House vote has given the ‘DREAM Act’ its best chance ever of enactment, and we and other supporters of this modest, sensible piece of legislation will use that momentum to rally support among the millions of Latinos and other Americans who want to give some of America’s best and brightest students their chance at the American Dream.

    “Latinos will long remember what happened in the House last night. And make no mistake—they will be watching closely to see what their senators do next week,” concluded Murguía.

    # # #


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    Today, a cross-section of distinguished Latino leaders from across the political spectrum, as well as in business, government, public service, entertainment, and sports, sent a letter (below) to the leadership of the U.S. Senate urging them to pass the “DREAM Act,” legislation that would allow undocumented youth who have grown up in this country the opportunity to achieve conditional legal status and eventually earn the ability to apply for citizenship if they attend college or serve in the military.

    In asking the Senate to approve this measure, the signatories highlight that support for the “DREAM Act” cuts across party lines and rises above politics. Their support also illustrates how near and dear this issue is to Latinos from all walks of life—it is about realizing the potential of people who came to this country at a young age and stand to contribute to America’s future. Their voices echo those of the majority of the American public, which polls show support the measure, and join an overwhelming outpouring of support for the “DREAM Act” from business, military, religious, civil rights, and education leaders from throughout the country.

    You can also add your voice to this urgent plea by signing this petition. Join thousands of people across the nation who are calling on U.S. senators to listen to the better angels of their nature and do what is in the best interest of our country. Their vote can affirm the fundamental principle that in America we do not punish innocent children.

     

    December 16, 2010

    Dear Senators Reid and McConnell:

    As Latino leaders in government, business, entertainment, and sports, we urge members of Congress to support the “Development, Relief, and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.” This modest and sensible piece of legislation would allow young people who were brought to the United States by their parents at a very young age to pursue higher education or serve in the military.

    These students are success stories in their communities, serving as student body presidents, star athletes, and performers, graduating often with honors from schools in their hometowns. Our country benefits immensely from the talent and drive to succeed that they demonstrate. They want the chance to go on to college or serve in the military to continue giving back to the only country they have ever called home.

    We know from a recently released study that the students covered under the “DREAM Act” will contribute at least one trillion dollars to the American economy over the course of their lifetimes. Moreover, according to the Congressional Budget Office, enacting the “DREAM Act” would reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion dollars over ten years. The intangible benefits of investing in these students’ futures, however, are immeasurable.

    America cannot afford to lose another generation of young people who stand to contribute to its economic and social prosperity. The beneficiaries of the “DREAM Act” are our future teachers, nurses, and engineers. The U.S. has invested in the education of many of these individuals since kindergarten, and it is only fitting that we enable them to serve and contribute, allowing our nation to reap the benefits. The Latino community is counting on Congress to come together and show its support for the future of these young people and the nation.

    Sincerely,

    Luis Castillo
    Linda Chavez
    The Honorable Henry G. Cisneros
    Maria Contreras-Sweet
    Emilio Estefan
    America Ferrera
    The Honorable Carlos Gutierrez
    Eva Longoria
    Monica Lozano
    Janet Murguía
    Ozomatli
    The Honorable Federico F. Peña
    The Honorable Bill Richardson
    Lionel Sosa
    Solomon D. Trujillo
    The Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa
     


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    December 16, 2010

    Contact: Paco Fabián
    (202) 785-1670

    Washington, DC—Janet Murguía, President and CEO ofNCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today joined a cross-section of distinguished Latino leaders from across the political spectrum, as well as in business, government, public service, entertainment, and sports, in sending a letter to the leadership of the U.S. Senate urging them to pass the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.” This legislation would allow undocumented youth who have grown up in this country the opportunity to achieve conditional legal status and eventually earn the ability to apply for citizenship if they attend college or serve in the military.

    “America cannot afford to lose another generation of young people who stand to contribute to its economic and social prosperity,” read the letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The beneficiaries of the ‘DREAM Act’ are our future teachers, nurses, and engineers. The U.S. has invested in the education of many of these individuals since kindergarten, and it is only fitting that we enable them to serve and contribute, allowing our nation to reap the benefits. The Latino community is counting on Congress to come together and show its support for the future of these young people and the nation.”

    The signatories highlighted that support for the “DREAM Act” cuts across party lines and rises above politics. Their support also illustrates how near and dear this issue is to Latinos from all walks of life—it is about realizing the potential of people who came to this country at a young age and stand to contribute to America’s future. Their voices echo those of the majority of the American public, which polls show support the measure, and join an overwhelming outpouring of support for the “DREAM Act” from business, military, religious, civil rights, and education leaders from throughout the country.

    Signatories to the letter to the Senate in support of the “DREAM Act” include:

    Luis Castillo
    Linda Chavez
    The Honorable Henry G. Cisneros
    Maria Contreras-Sweet
    Emilio Estefan
    America Ferrera
    The Honorable Carlos Gutierrez
    Eva Longoria
    Monica Lozano
    Janet Murguía
    Ozomatli
    The Honorable Federico F. Peña
    The Honorable Bill Richardson
    Lionel Sosa
    Solomon D. Trujillo
    The Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa

    NCLR has invited the public to voice support for the urgent plea by signing a petition. Thousands of people across the nation are already calling on their senators to listen to their better angels and do what is in the best interest of our country. Their vote can affirm the fundamental principle that in America we do not punish innocent children.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    December 17, 2010

    Contact:
    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670

    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today noted that despite its flaws, the major tax legislation approved last night by the House of Representatives will help create jobs and directly benefit millions of unemployed and low-income workers and families. The package will now go to President Obama to be signed into law.

    “Despite its flaws, this legislation has direct, undeniable benefits for Latino workers and families,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía. “On the heels of the worst month of unemployment for Latinos since August 1983, the White House and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have taken action on behalf of low-income workers to prevent more large-scale layoffs next year and to spur job creation. We are hopeful that this legislation will help strengthen the economy and put the nation in a better position for the upcoming debate over how we deal with our national debt.”

    While NCLR expressed concern that the package contains costly tax benefits for the wealthiest Americans, including a tax exemption for individuals with estates worth up to $5 million, the legislation includes $83 billion in provisions that will directly benefit low-income and jobless workers. According to estimates from NCLR, the White House, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the Tax Policy Center:

    • Extending unemployment insurance benefits for one year will benefit nearly one million Latino workers who would have lost their benefits in 2011.
    • Extending the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which removed the marriage penalty and retained additional benefits for larger families, will benefit:
      • 2.1 million Latino families
      • 5.2 million Latino children (out of the 14.9 million children affected by this policy)
    • Extending the ARRA expansion of the Child Tax Credit will benefit:
      • 3.3 million Latino families
      • 6.1 million Latino children (out of the 18.1 million children affected by this policy)

    Economists estimate that the package could help create between 1.6 million and 2.2 million jobs in the next two years. Approximately 740,000 new jobs are projected to result from the extension of unemployment insurance benefits, the EITC, and the Child Tax Credit.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    December 17, 2010

    Contact:
    Paco Fabián
    (202) 785-1670

    Latino community will be watching Saturday’s vote closely

    Washington, DC—Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) filed for cloture on the “Development, Relief, and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act,” setting up a procedural vote that will decide the fate of many young people in our country. NCLR (National Council of La Raza)—the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—strongly urges senators to vote yes and allow a debate on this sensible piece of legislation, which would give undocumented kids who have grown up in this country the opportunity to achieve conditional legal status and eventually earn the chance to apply for citizenship if they attend college or serve in the military.

    “Saturday’s vote on the ‘DREAM Act’ will be remembered by the Latino community for generations,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “It comes down to a very simple choice: our senators stand for innocent children, or they don’t. Latinos, the fastest-growing segment of the electorate, will remember exactly which side these senators choose and take it as an indication of who stands for our families and our communities.”

    The “DREAM Act” has the support of faith, business, military, civil rights, and education leaders. A recent study shows that students covered under the “DREAM Act” will contribute at least $1 trillion to the U.S. economy over the course of their lifetimes. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that enacting the “DREAM Act” would reduce the deficit by $2.2 billion over ten years. The measure was endorsed by the fiscal year 2010–2012 Strategic Plan for the Department of Defense’s Office of the Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness to help the military “shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force.”

    “The benefits of this modest proposal are clear and the issues that held it up have been addressed. Now the Senate must desist from blocking this debate,” said Murguía. “There is nowhere left to hide. It is time for senators of both parties to take a stand and do what is in the best interest of our community, our economy, and our country. Let’s make DREAM a reality.”

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    December 22, 2010

    Contact:
    Denise Pernick
    Kathy Mimberg
    (202) 785-1670

    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, and the Best Buy Children’s Foundation announced the winners of the 2010 NCLR-Best Buy Emerging Latino Leaders Scholarship Program national essay contest, sponsored by Best Buy. Five scholarships totaling $27,500 were awarded to students whose responses best demonstrated their commitment to academic achievement, leadership, and community service on behalf of the Latino community.

    The scholarship program encourages Latino students to reach their long-term educational and professional goals and promotes the importance of community service and leadership among youth. In fall 2010, applicants were asked to submit an essay describing how they have translated a passion for leadership into community advocacy. The essay topics allowed youth throughout the country to discuss their leadership experiences with civic engagement and community service.

    The contest awarded five Latino high school seniors with financial support to attend an accredited college or university in fall 2011. Octavio Viramontes (Earlimart, CA), winner of the grand prize, will receive a $15,000 scholarship toward his postsecondary education. Gabriella Herrera (Tracy, CA) and Diana Macias (Chicago, IL) will each receive $5,000, and Sebastian Rivadeneira (New Brunswick, NJ) will receive $2,500.

    The NCLR-Best Buy Emerging Latino Leaders Scholarship Program is offered through the NCLR Líderes Initiative, a national youth leadership program that aims to increase opportunities for young Latinos and maximize their influence in the United States. The Líderes Initiative also provides information about other educational programs and leadership opportunities for young people. These opportunities are featured on the Líderes Initiative website at http://lideres.nclr.org.

    ###

    About Best Buy’s Community Commitment
    As a company, and through the Best Buy Children’s Foundation, Best Buy works with nonprofit organizations to support programs that provide opportunities for teens. Its goal is to provide positive experiences that will help teens excel in school, engage in their communities, and develop leadership skills. Best Buy also supports national organizations that provide essential social services, such as the United Way and American Red Cross, to improve the vitality of the communities where its employees and customers live and work. Recognizing that each community is unique, Best Buy also supports a community grant program that allows employees to decide how Best Buy Children’s Foundation funds are distributed locally. The company encourages local volunteerism by providing charitable gifts to organizations where employees volunteer. In 2009, 21,000 Best Buy employees volunteered nearly 125,000 hours and, through the Best Buy Children’s Foundation, donated more than $3 million to nonprofit organizations.


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    December 22, 2010

    Contact:
    Mostafa Abdelguelil
    (202) 682-4012

    Washington, DC—Janet Murguía, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), was recently elected chair of the HACR Board of Directors, for the 2011-2012 term, effective May 2011.

    Along with Murguía, the HACR Board of Directors re-elected Guarione Díaz, president, Cuban American National Council, as Vice Chair; Ron Blackburn-Moreno, president and CEO, ASPIRA Association, Inc., Treasurer; and Clara Padilla Andrews, president, National Association of Hispanic Publications, Secretary. Ignacio Salazar, HACR's current board chair, will continue to serve on the organization's executive committee as immediate past chair, serving a one-year term.

    “Janet’s extraordinary leadership, intrinsic knowledge of HACR, and passion for the proper representation of Latinos in all areas - from employment and procurement to philanthropy and governance - are exemplary,” said Ignacio Salazar, president and CEO of SER – Jobs for Progress National, Inc. “With this wealth of experience, she is exceptionally qualified to spearhead our board’s executive committee, and we welcome her and look forward to working together in advancing Hispanic inclusion in Corporate America.”

    An influential figure among the next generation of Latino leaders, Janet Murguía has devoted her career to public service, providing improved opportunities for the nearly 50 million Hispanics living in the U.S. At NCLR, she has continuously worked to strengthen the Latino voice on issues of critical importance to the community, nurturing partnerships with a network of nearly 300 affiliates. She has also been instrumental in building a bridge between the Hispanic community and other minority groups and has placed special emphasis on the Latino vote and its importance in shaping the future of the current and future political clout in the country.

    “It is a privilege to have been selected to lead HACR’s board of directors among such a distinguished group of individuals who are at the forefront of Hispanic inclusion,” said Murguía. “As a board member, I have had the privilege to be deeply involved in HACR’s mission and look forward to working with my fellow coalition members.”
    Murguía has served on HACR’s board of directors since 2005. She is also a board member of the Independent Sector, a coalition of leading non-profits, foundations and corporations; the American Heart Association; and the Partnership for a Healthier America, and is an executive committee member for The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda.

    She has been recognized on numerous occasions for her work, receiving accolades including Washingtonian magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women in Washington,” People en Español’s “100 Most Influential Hispanics,” and Latino Leaders magazine’s “101 Top Leaders of the Hispanic Community,” among others. Murguía’s extensive career began in Washington, DC and she worked at the White House from 1994 to 2000, serving as former President Clinton’s deputy assistant and deputy director of legislative affairs.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    January 5, 2011

    Contact:
    Paco Fabián
    (202) 785-1670
     

    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today called recent proposals to repeal the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment—which confers citizenship on all persons born on U.S. soil—“inflammatory, impractical, and immoral.”

    “These thoughtless and unnecessary proposals take our country in the wrong direction, away from inclusion and our other core American values,” stated Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “The citizenship clause is a bedrock principle of civil rights and part of what makes us all Americans. Never in our nation’s history have we amended the Constitution to take away someone’s rights and we should not do so now.”

    “These proposals are inflammatory. Those seeking to decimate the 14th Amendment know that their attempts are constitutionally dubious at best, but they are definitely irresponsible and divisive, guaranteed to make many of our fellow Americans suspect in their own land.

    “They are impractical. These approaches would throw hospitals, families, and society into chaos, requiring the government to come into every delivery room to determine the paternity of the child and the status of his or her parents.

    “And these proposals are immoral. They would undermine our nation’s commitment to equality under the law, taking us down a slippery slope where the law permits distinctions based on ancestry, race, ethnicity, gender, and other characteristics.

    “Proponents of this idea would have you believe that their proposals are simple, uncomplicated, and an easy fix to a problem. But there is nothing simple about taking away a right that millions of Americans fought and died for in the Civil War. There is nothing uncomplicated about an assault on our Constitution. And this is no solution,” concluded Murguía.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    January 10, 2011

    Contact:
    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670


    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, joined the rest of the nation today in remembrance of the victims of the shooting in Tucson, Arizona this past Saturday.

    “The thoughts and prayers of the NCLR family are with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, U.S. District Federal Judge John Roll, and all of the other victims and their families, whose lives have been forever altered by this senseless attack,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO.

    “As the country comes to terms with this tragedy, we are presented with a time to reflect on the privilege of our democracy and the responsibility each of us has toward preserving it. As a civil rights organization, NCLR knows well the consequences of vitriol in our public dialogue and treatment of each other. Each of us has a role and a responsibility in upholding and engaging in constructive and civil discourse. Let’s renew our commitment to see that through,” concluded Murguía.

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    By Janet Murguía

    As part of our mission to increase the Latino presence in our nation’s media, NCLR has worked for several months to ensure that the proposed alliance between Comcast and NBCU includes a focus on creating a richer, more diverse media landscape with more opportunities for Hispanic voices and Hispanic businesses.

    This past summer, NCLR was part of a coalition of leading national Hispanic organizations which negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Comcast and NBCU. This MOU is unprecedented in scope in the media industry and we believe that there is a commitment on both sides to ensure that the MOU yields real, measurable pro-diversity results.

    The uniqueness of this MOU begins with the formation of a new nine-member external Hispanic Advisory Council (“HAC”), whose job is to benchmark the new company's efforts and advise it on how best to realize the new goals outlined by the MOU.

    Comcast has agreed to add independently-owned and -operated channels, including no fewer than four of which are owned and/or operated by Hispanics. It has also committed to expand its video-on-demand and online program offerings to the Hispanic community.

    Comcast and NBCU will build upon their existing affirmative action plans to increase Hispanic hiring -- from senior management to entry-level employees -- by establishing focus groups to identify potential candidates, developing action plans for increasing director-level representation of Hispanics, committing to having at least one person of color on the slate of every VP-and-above hire, and implementing a “boot camp” for mid-level VP candidates including no less than 80 percent diverse candidates.

    Both companies have also committed to continue their company-wide supplier-diversity programs in key sectors such as advertising, construction, information technology, legal services, financial services, office furniture and supplies, and promotion and marketing.

    Comcast has also pledged to provide new outlets for Spanish-language and Hispanic-themed English-language programming, including news and public affairs shows. Comcast and NBCU have also committed that the new company’s philanthropic efforts will reflect an even sharper diversity focus. For example, Comcast pledges to work to increase scholarship awards to Hispanic students, and both companies will increase support for internship and scholarship programs with Hispanic-led and Hispanic-serving organizations with proven track records.

    And finally, Comcast has also offered to expand diversity in its boardroom, pledging to name a U.S.-based Hispanic to its Board of Directors within 24 months of the deal’s closing regardless of whether a board vacancy becomes available.

    The spirit in which Comcast engaged in these thoughtful discussions with leading Hispanic organizations is a strong sign that Comcast and NBCU understand the importance of diversity not just as a social value but as a business philosophy as well. We are confident that the commitments made by Comcast and NBCU will provide important opportunities not only for the Latino community, but for other communities of color as well.


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    January 14, 2011

    Contact:
    Jennifer Occean
    (202) 785-1670


    Washington, DC—For the 25th anniversary of the holiday commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 17, NCLR (National Council of La Raza)—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—will join nonprofit organizations from the NCLR Affiliate Network and the Corporation for National and Community Service to participate in community service projects throughout the nation.

    “Dr. King has inspired people from around the world to advocate for equal opportunity. Honoring his legacy through service pays tribute to his dream,” said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía.

    The service activities and contact information for participating NCLR AmeriCorps Affiliates are as follows:

    Association House of Chicago—Chicago, IL
    The AmeriCorps members from Association House will join City Year Chicago and other organizations in renovating schools in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. Participants will paint murals, beautify the school grounds, and encourage the community to volunteer. Members will also discuss the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his inspiration to service.
    Contact: Erika Tejeda, (773) 772-7170

    Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe—El Paso, TX
    The AmeriCorps program will present an educational program about the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to children at the Child Crisis Center of El Paso, an emergency shelter for children who come from abusive households, homeless parents, or dangerous living conditions. AmeriCorps members will engage the children in activities and lessons that highlight the values of Dr. King and how they might apply his teachings to their lives. Additionally, the members will collect and sort food for the needy as part of the El Paso County food drive.
    Contact: Amy O'Rourke, (915) 533-3922

    Information Referral Resource Assistance (IRRA)—Edinburg, TX
    IRRA AmeriCorps members will lead service projects in honor of Dr. King at various service sites in the Texas Valley, including Rio Grande City, Mission, Edinburg, Weslaco, and Raymondville. Projects will include removing graffiti and beautifying a senior center, holding a food drive for the local food bank and for the Humane Society, and collecting and delivering toys to the children’s ward of the Edinburg Hospital.
    Contact: Joanne Ureste, (956) 393-2227

    Instituto del Progreso Latino—Chicago, IL
    Members of the after-school program at Instituto del Progreso Latino will work with students to create a PowerPoint presentation about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement in order to educate the community about his life and work. Members will also partner with autistic children from the Grupo SALTO Program in Chicago and create art projects with the children that reflect the work of Dr. King.
    Contact: Emmanuel Mandujano, (773) 890-0055

    Latin American Youth Center (LAYC)—District of Columbia
    LAYC and AmeriCorps members from the Maryland Multicultural Youth Center will partner with the Ophelia Egypt Program Center of Planned Parenthood and participate in a community cinema program during which they will watch a movie about social activism and community involvement. Participants will then discuss the movie and community service and complete a service project.
    Contact: Toneice Evans, (301) 779-2851

    The Unity Council—Oakland, CA
    The Unity Council AmeriCorps members will participate in the Park District’s Third Annual Day of Service to celebrate and continue Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of improving lives and bridging social barriers in an effort to improve our communities. For the Day of Service at the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline in Oakland, AmeriCorps members and volunteers will assist staff in restoration work and invasive plant removal in order to support and care for wildlife and their natural habitats.
    Contact: Anthony Zapien, (510) 535-7175

    Youth Policy Institute (YPI)—Los Angeles, CA
    YPI AmeriCorps members will participate in Operation Hangar Cleanup at the Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum (TAM) in Compton. The project will consist of cleaning, painting, and organizing the hangar and Sky Lab for educational classes. TAM will also hold a book and school supplies drive to collect donations to be used in the Aero Squad After School Program and local schools. On Tuesday, January 18, YPI AmeriCorps will host a service project at YPI Hollywood's Family Source Center with a mural painting and essay contest that focuses on children's aspirations for college and their futures.
    Contact: Husani Garrett, (818) 899-5550

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    By Lori Ramos, Vice President
    Center for Training and Careers

    Many organizations struggle to keep in touch with their clients once they have graduated from their programs, yet participant follow-up is one of the most important reporting outcomes demanded by funders. Maintaining communication with participants tells funders how well their money was utilized, whether students are able to find meaningful employment, and how participants are doing after three months, six months, or even a year. Ultimately, such detailed information can play a decisive role in enabling an organization to secure additional funding in the future.

    Like most organizations, the Center for Training and Careers (CTC) wants its clients to succeed in their training programs and jobs after graduation. Thus, we created an alumni association that helps maintain contact with its former graduates, keeping them coming back for resources, support, and encouragement as they weather the demands of life. A 33-year-old community-based organization, CTC provides participants with job skills and training in various industries to help them find gainful employment and become productive members of the society. CTC offers GED classes and education in computers, green jobs, health care careers, and basic construction skills.

    Every participant that graduates from CTC is automatically enrolled in the CTC alumni association. Unlike school, college, and university alumni associations, enrollment in CTC’s association is absolutely free—participants are simply required to update their contact information annually. This helps CTC staff communicate upcoming events, new training programs, opportunities to upgrade their skills, job fairs, and other workforce events that might be of interest to their former participants.

    In addition to the above mentioned services, CTC alumni also receive a weekly food bag provided by Second Harvest, a local food pantry, and free toys for their kids during Christmas from Toys for Tots. They also receive special recognition at events when they have completed one, five, and ten years of membership.

    CTC’s alumni association has immensely helped CTC by serving two considerably different but equally important organizational needs: maintaining contact with its program graduates and meeting grant reporting requirements. Furthermore, creation of this alumni network and being able to follow participants, has helped CTC measure its impact in the community and demonstrate the success of their programs. This has further strengthened their position with their funders and the community.


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    By Janet Murguía

    With today’s news that the Comcast-NBCU agreement has been approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), we commend the Commission and especially FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn for their tireless advocacy on behalf of communities of color throughout this process. Now begins the work on implementing the historic Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) signed by Latino and other minority organizations and the new Comcast-NBCU entity that will provide a host of new media opportunities for Latinos and other minorities.

    We applaud Comcast for their commitment to increasing diversity in the new entity and for signing these MOUs with our respective organizations. We believe we have the support in place and have done the work necessary to make this agreement a very positive development for the Latino community. We are looking forward to making the promise of the MOU a reality.

    For those interested in the details of the MOU, click here.


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    January 19, 2011

    Contact:
    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670

    Washington, DC—Calling recent efforts to repeal health care reform “extreme,” Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza)—the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—urged the House of Representatives to firmly oppose proposals that would reverse the nation’s landmark health care reform.

    “Voting down the ‘Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act’ (H.R. 2 and H.Res. 9) is a vote in the interest of all Americans. NCLR calls on Congress to take a stand against efforts that will take our nation backwards,” said Murguía.

    Nearly 16 million Latinos went without health insurance in 2009. Health care reform and the upcoming implementation of health insurance exchanges would provide expanded options to buy private coverage, and the new law improves health care for the majority of uninsured Hispanics by expanding consumer coverage protections and strengthening civil rights in health care settings.

    Despite imperfections in the law, health care reform policies have made strides in fixing our health care system and extending much-needed benefits to more Americans. Small businesses are using the tax credits afforded through the law to cover their employees, parents are covering their young adult children, and thousands of individuals with preexisting medical conditions now have access to insurance that had been withheld previously.

    “Instead of repeal, Congress should take measures to improve health care reform policies where needed and let administrators get down to the business of implementing the many good provisions in the laws,” said Murguía. “Latinos are counting on Congress to make health care better in their communities.”

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    January 19, 2011

    Contact:
    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670
     

    Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today released the following statement from NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía on the passing of R. Sargent Shriver, founding director of the Peace Corps and vice presidential candidate:

    It is with great sadness that we note the passing of R. Sargent Shriver yesterday at the age of 95. Mr. Shriver had an illustrious career as a successful attorney, businessman, and statesman. Yet it is his role as a true leader and his life of service that have inspired millions of Americans, including those in the Latino community, to serve their community, their country, and the world.

    Shriver holds a special place in the hearts of many Latinos here in the United States and in Latin America. As founding director of the Peace Corps, he brought renewed and heightened attention on Latin America and helped create a global focus on alleviating poverty and fostering peace in the region. And after providing invaluable assistance throughout the continent, thousands of American Peace Corps volunteers returned home with a deeper appreciation and understanding of Latin America.

    During his tenure in the Johnson administration, Shriver ushered in one of the most successful government programs in the history of this country: Head Start. Head Start has provided, and continues to provide, millions of Latino children with the preschool education necessary to achieve future academic success. On a personal note, I also want to express our deep appreciation to Mr. Shriver for his contributions to NCLR. Working with Mr. Shriver and the Office of Economic Opportunity, my predecessor Raul Yzaguirre honed the skills and expertise that helped him build NCLR into an American institution.

    Even as he battled health problems late in life, Shriver still contributed by tirelessly helping his daughter Maria raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and its impact on the American family. His legacy as a man who devoted his life to the poor, minorities, and others in need is a reminder and model for future generations and for us all.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    January 20, 2011

    Contact:
    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670


    Washington, DC—President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 25. Halfway through the president’s first term, Latino voters—the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. electorate—are once again among the most courted voter demographics. Latinos played a key role in the 2010 midterm elections and will no doubt be a critical factor in the 2012 elections.

    As President Obama lays out his legislative agenda for the year, the Latino community, like all Americans, will be listening for solutions to the challenges that continue to plague our nation.
    Representatives and policy experts from NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, will be available to comment on the president’s speech.

    Members of the media interested in interviews should contact the following NCLR spokespeople:

    Janet Murguía, President and CEO, (202) 785-1670

    Eric Rodriguez, Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation, (202) 746-2375

    Raul González, Director, Legislative Affairs, (202) 657-1556

    Health
    Jennifer Ng’andu, Deputy Director, Health Policy Project, (202) 631-9483

    Economy, Jobs, Foreclosure
    Janis Bowdler, Director, Wealth-Building Policy Project, (202) 904-0199

    Catherine Singley, Senior Policy Analyst, Economic and Employment Policy Project, (202) 340-8310

    Immigration
    Laura Vazquez, Legislative Analyst, Immigration Policy Project, (202) 834-7015

    Education
    Liany Arroyo, Associate Director, Education and Children’s Policy Project, (202) 262-7937

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    President Obama’s State of the Union address was a direct challenge to lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle to work together toward a more prosperous and globally competitive America. The president called for investments in innovation, education, and infrastructure to jump-start economic growth. He also pledged to get the nation’s fiscal house in order and reshape federal government in ways that make it leaner and more efficient. His speech touched on many subjects and policy issues of great concern to all Americans and especially the nation’s Hispanics.

    Immigration

    The president rightfully acknowledged the contributions of immigrants historically in making America strong and competitive globally. In addition, he recognized that restoring America’s leading role in the world also means keeping talented and skilled immigrant students in the country, therefore contributing to our nation’s prosperity. Not only did he mention the importance of the “DREAM Act,” he reaffirmed his commitment to immigration reform.

    The president is right. Enacting immigration reform will be hard and it will take more than his words to move the policy debate forward. We know that fixing our country’s broken immigration system would generate needed economic growth, create jobs, and increase tax contributions by ensuring that everyone working in the United States is doing so legally. In fact, immigration reform would allow us to take full advantage of the opportunities for economic growth that immigrants bring.

    Comprehensive immigration reform that includes a legalization plan for the unauthorized would contribute a cumulative $1.5 trillion to GDP over ten years as more tax revenues are collected, wages increase for U.S.-born and legalized workers, and immigrant workers spend more in our economy.

    The solution to our broken immigration system must include restoring the rule of law by requiring the nearly 11 million undocumented people in our country to come forward, obtain legal status, and learn English. It must create smart enforcement policies that uphold national security and the Constitution, and it must reform the legal immigration system so that families are reunited in a timely manner and future workers can enter in an orderly way, with rights and protections that safeguard our workforce.

    Jobs

    Without mentioning the word “unemployment,” the president focused on the future of the American economy, calling on the nation to “out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.” As the fastest-growing segment of the workforce—and among the hardest hit by the recession—Latinos are critical to our economic recovery in the short term and our global competitiveness in the long term. That’s why it is imperative that Latinos fully participate in economic ecosystems that generate new ideas and bring them to fruition.

    We can make this a reality by building on what is working. Despite the jobs crisis, there are places and industries where employment is growing. For example, employment in elementary and secondary schools in Texas’ Concho Valley, where more than one-third of the population is Latino, grew by 36% during the lowest point in the recession. The federal government can match private business investments with public dollars to help sustain existing economic development plans that show promise.

    We must also strive to better prepare today’s workers to meet the demands of American businesses. Our workforce development system provides a range of services for adults who want to upgrade their skills: job readiness and employment services, occupational skills training and vocational postsecondary education. Investing in programs that help low-skill and limited-English-proficient working adults prepare for new and better jobs should be part and parcel of a strategy for moving the entire economy forward.

    Social Security

    The president said that we should find a bipartisan solution to strengthening Social Security for future generations and spelled out some important conditions for doing so, such as protecting the vulnerable and disabled. For the Hispanic community, the benefits of Social Security are critical, as they help keep the majority of Latino seniors out of poverty. Hispanic seniors are more likely than non-Hispanic seniors to rely on Social Security as their sole source of income. While Social Security has powerful antipoverty effects, it can still be improved. Social Security benefits for very low-income workers can leave retirees below the poverty line. For example, the average benefit for Hispanic women was $9,536 in 2008, which was below the official poverty line of $10,326. In addition, Latino seniors are less likely to qualify for Social Security benefits. Lastly, older Latino adults are more likely to report poor health, work in a physically demanding job, and apply for disability benefits than older White adults.

    Any proposals to strengthen the Social Security system should maintain what works well, and it should improve the adequacy of benefits for low-income workers as well as access to the program for workers who are currently left out. We believe that low- and moderate-income people should be protected from benefit cuts.

    Education

    President Obama is right. We must address our nation’s ballooning deficit in a way that allows us to be competitive over the long term. His focus on increasing investment in education to innovate our country out of the recession and deficit is in the best interest of children, particularly Latino children.

    Latino children account for 22% of all children in the United States under the age of 18 and 26% of children under the age of five. Twenty-two percent of our nation’s public school students are Latino. In order for our country to be competitive, it is imperative that education works for Hispanic students, who will be a vital part of our future workforce.

    To ensure that Latino children have the opportunity to succeed in an increasingly global economy, we must improve access to high-quality early childhood education services and ensure that high academic standards are the norm for all Latino students, including English language learners.

    Health

    The president said that America can’t afford to go back our old health care system. We agree. That system was bad for Latinos, who had few options for affordable coverage and were increasingly burdened by escalating health care costs. Health care reform has the potential to provide access to health insurance and care for millions of Latinos. It is not perfect, but we should improve on it, not repeal it.

    As President Obama noted, balancing the budget cannot be done “on the back of our most vulnerable citizens.” We should invest in programs that help reign in the costs of health care while promoting the good health of our citizenry. It is both smart and critically important that we fully fund initiatives that remove the pervasive inequality within our health care system.
     


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    February 3, 2011

    Contact:
    Kathy Mimberg
    (202) 785-1670

    Report says Latino youth are unfairly treated in the system


    Washington, DC—In a report released today, NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, called on the U.S. Congress to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 (JJDPA) in order to make our nation’s juvenile justice system stronger and increase support for prevention and rehabilitation programs.

    The report, Reauthorizing the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act: The Impact on Latino Youth,provides background on the major issues that Latino youth face in the juvenile justice system, examines gaps in current law, and offers recommendations for reauthorization of the legislation that will lead to fairer and more comprehensive treatment of Latino youth. It highlights community-based alternatives as a lower-cost and more effective alternative to detention.

    Each day, an estimated 18,000 Hispanic youth can be found in jails, prisons, and detention centers in the U.S. The reauthorization of JJDPA—which has been pending in Congress since 2007—would address the overrepresentation of Latino youth in the juvenile justice system, the harsher treatment that they receive compared to White youth who commit the same offenses, and the policies that treat youth as adults, disproportionately affecting Latinos. JJDPA sets standards that apply to all youth involved in the juvenile justice system.

    “Our juvenile justice system is in dire need of reform,” said Eric Rodriguez, NCLR Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation. “Congress needs to renew this important legislation and embrace community-based programs that reach Latino youth before they come into contact with law enforcement, helping these children stay out of trouble.”

    Of related interest, a previous NCLR study, Speaking Out: Latino Youth on Discrimination in the United States,documents the pervasive discrimination that Latino youth experience daily from adults. The teenagers who were interviewed described feeling unfairly and habitually profiled by law enforcement as a result of negative assumptions regarding Hispanic youth, gangs, and immigrants.

    The new report, Reauthorizing the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act: The Impact on Latino Youth, which is available at www.nclr.org/jj, provides NCLR’s recommendations for Congress to support evidence-based practices that keep Latino youth out of jail and prevent recidivism, as well as to protect youth from the dangers of being held in jails and prisons, especially with adults. NCLR works closely with many local organizations throughout the U.S. that offer a model for prevention and rehabilitation services for Latino youth, including:

    Southwest Key Programs, based in Austin, Texas, provides a continuum of services that keep youth across the country out of the juvenile justice system. Programs include delinquency prevention and alternatives to detention services tailored to the cultural and linguistic needs of youth and families.

    Enlace Chicago works to prevent youth and gang violence in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. Staff at Enlace—many of whom are bilingual and bicultural—provide holistic services to youth ranging from mentoring to court advocacy. Enlace Chicago also advocates for juvenile justice reforms in Illinois and at the federal level.

    El Centro de la Raza, in Seattle, Washington, offers a variety of bilingual and multicultural services that provide cultural education and violence prevention to Latinos and other youth in Seattle. El Centro also educates the community and conducts local advocacy on juvenile justice issues.

    Men in Motion in the Community (MIMIC) works to prevent delinquency among young men in north Philadelphia through intensive mentoring relationships, community support, and educational enrichment. The deep ties that MIMIC volunteers have to the community are vital to the success of their work.

    “It has been our experience at Enlace Chicago that culturally competent, community-based prevention and intervention programs are extremely important to improving the outcomes for Latino youth. Alternative programs have proven more effective at reducing recidivism and are much more cost-efficient than incarceration,” said Mike Rodriguez, Executive Director of Enlace Chicago.

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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    February 8, 2011

    Contact:
    Jackeline Stewart
    (202) 785-1670


    Washington, DC—President Obama’s Better Buildings Initiative to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings has the potential to create significant new job opportunities for many Latino workers, according to NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. An NCLR analysis released today reveals that nearly 400,000 Latinos work in occupations that could see significant job growth under this program.

    The Better Buildings Initiative is part of President Obama’s plan to “win the future” by investing in energy-saving technologies. It will make commercial buildings more energy efficient while creating new jobs and making the country’s air cleaner through a series of incentives to upgrade offices, stores, schools, universities, and hospitals across the country.

    “Transitioning to the energy efficiency sector is not a far leap for Latino workers in related industries, such as construction,” said Eric Rodriguez, Vice President of NCLR’s Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation. “If Congress and the president are serious about saving energy and creating jobs, then we must remind them that they need to invest in workforce training programs which provide workers with not only the opportunity, but also the essential training and skills to achieve work in this area and meet the program’s strategic goals.”

    According to NCLR’s analysis, thousands of Latino workers, from insulation installers to mechanical engineers, have the background to help carry out the necessary building upgrades. However, 90% of these workers will need additional training to transition to energy efficiency jobs from other industries.

    “We applaud the Obama administration for laying out a bold vision for business growth and job creation,” Rodriguez said. “We look forward to working with policymakers to ensure that Latinos can fully contribute to these efforts to move our nation forward.”

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