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March 13, 2013


Annual Phillip J. Bowman Lecture in Race and Public Policy

Fuerza Latina: A Paradox of Success and Hardship

By Sylvia Puente
Executive Director, Latino Policy Forum

When: Wednesday, 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Where: Student Center East, Cardinal Room, 750 S. Halsted St.

Series: Brown Bag Series Phillip J Bowman Annual Lecture

This event is free and open to the public

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Between 2000 and 2010, Illinois’ Latino population growth of nearly half a million people was greater than the state’s overall population growth of 411,339; in the wake of overall population declines, the Latino population is growing, contributing to the cultural and economic future of our state. However, the past decade has dealt a mixed hand to a community that is increasingly shaping the face of Illinois. Against the backdrop of the ongoing economic crisis, this report takes stock of how Illinois Latinos are faring, specifically in the areas of economic status, education, health, and housing.

Indicators reveal multiple paradoxes: As the number of “high-earning” Latino households in Illinois doubled, the number of Latino children living in poverty rose by 50%. While an unprecedentedly high number of Illinois Latino children—90%—now have access to healthcare, two-thirds of Illinois Latinos are classified as obese. While Latinos accounted for half of the increase in owner occupied homes over the last decade, more than half are now applying an unsustainable 30% of their income towards housing costs. The number of Latinos obtaining a four-year degree nearly doubled; however, just over half of their third grade counterparts are meeting or exceeding reading standards.

Illinois Latinos are succeeding and struggling at unprecedented levels; this bifurcation of our communities must be in the forefront of our thoughts as we build an “Agenda for the Future. ” The Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation hopes that this report empowers readers to reflect upon the policies that have shaped the economic, academic, health and housing results of the past decade and to consider the policy interventions necessary to build a strong shared future for Latinos and all Illinoisans.

About the Speaker

Sylvia Puente is a leading advocate of affordable and accessible housing, just immigration reform, improved educational outcomes for children, and women's leadership. In addition to leading the Latino Policy Forum, she is a founder of the Latino Leadership Council of the Chicago Foundation for Women, the convener of the Illinois Latino Agenda, and a recent recipient of the League of United Latin American Citizens' Leadership Award.

About the Phillip J. Bowman Annual Lecture

This lecture has been established to honor Phillip J. Bowman’s contributions to UIC during his tenure as Director of IRRPP and Professor of African American Studies. It features national scholars of race, ethnicity, and public policy who provide timely analysis of issues that are critical to the field and to communities of color.