Strength in Numbers

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessThe Latino population in Illinois rose significantly since 2000. Now, one in four children across Illinois is Latino. “This community is now to big to try to succeed without it,” said Ray Suarez, host of PBS News Hour and keynote speaker at the Latino Policy Forum’s breakfast fundraiser and policy briefing held Tuesday morning at the United League Club. “Our future prosperity is this country’s prosperity.”

The briefing, “Latino and the Changing Face of America: Policy Perspectives,” delved into the change of demography and the social, political, and economical implications Latinos have in the U.S. The forum also released a new issue in its “Statistics On Latinos” (SOL) series that shed light on the growing numbers of Latino families migrating to the suburbs and the impact it will have on Chicago. “Across the nation, one in six residents is now Latino. When we look at Chicago, the number jumps to more than one in four. But what may surprise many people is that 60-plus percent of Illinois Latinos now live outside of Chicago,” said Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Latino Policy Forum. “When we talk about demographic growth, it is no longer just a matter of Illinois’ Latino community becoming larger; instead, all of Illinois is becoming more Latino. When we embrace changes like these, they become opportunities.”

A pool of political leaders and local activists were pressed to work together to create solutions to various contentious problems, including public schooling systems and the downturn in employment.

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