By Janet Hernandez, Senior Civic Engagement Project Manager, NCLR
Every year, thousands of Latinos across the country become naturalized citizens. One of those new citizens is Cleofas Hernandez, an 89-year-old woman from the Imperial Valley in California. She says that she was determined to become a citizen so that she’d be able to cast her vote on November 8.
Hernandez was a participant in TODEC (Training Occupational Development Educating Communities) Legal Center’s citizenship classes. TODEC has been serving migrant communities in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial Counties for decades. Its mission is to empower disenfranchised immigrant communities to become economically, socially, educationally, and civically self-sufficient, while enhancing individual self-esteem.
With Citizenship Day on September 17, we are proud to announce that we have begun a new Citizenship Application Assistance Project. Affiliates in Arizona, Florida, California, Illinois, and Massachusetts will now provide application assistance to eligible lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to become naturalized U.S. citizens.
NCLR has actively worked on the issue of citizenship since 1991, when we released the report Unlocking the Golden Door, calling for policy reforms and increased engagement by NCLR Affiliates to encourage Hispanic immigrants to naturalize. In 2009, we launched our Citizenship Assistance program. Over the course of two years, we worked with about 48 NCLR Affiliates, local community organizations, and several cooperating businesses to help 11,340 LPRs complete their naturalization applications. During the upcoming year, NCLR will provide subgrants, training, and technical assistance to NCLR Affiliates to expand naturalization programs.
By Paul A. Aguilar, Project Coordinator, Institute for Hispanic Health, NCLR
Last month NCLR highlighted the many successes of its healthy shopping program, Comprando Rico y Sano. Since 2010 this program has helped us reach more than 4,000 Latinos in 22 communities across the country. This year NCLR updated the Comprando Rico y Sano curriculum and provided training and materials for 14 of its Affiliate organizations. All of this was made possible by the generous support of General Mills’s Que Rica Vida and the Walmart Foundation. With these committed partners and the dedication of our Affiliates, this program will provide 6,000 more Latinos with valuable information on how to make healthy food choices by the end of the year. Over the course of the next few months, NCLR’s Institute for Hispanic Health will showcase the efforts of many of these organizations.
One notable Affiliate is TODEC Legal Center, which has been serving migrant communities in California’s Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial Counties for almost 30 years. They work every day to provide equitable access to information and services for people with limited or no English proficiency, including immigrants and migrant workers. Since Comprando Rico y Sano has been integrated into their existing services, the organization has facilitated educational sessions, or charlas, for close to 400 individuals in the community.