Monday, December 20, 2004

Source: PRLDEF statement

December 20, 2004

At the PRLDEF Institute for Puerto Rican Policy, 2004 was a year of much activity as our small crew worked tirelessly to promote a positive policy agenda for Puerto Ricans and other Latinos. This included:

Promoting increased civic participation and discussion of critical issues facing Latinos in this Presidential election year by:

● Challenging the television networks’ inaccurate exit poll findings that 44 percent of Latinos voted for the President, when the actual figure was closer to 39 percent and the Democratic challenger probably received the same level of support as he did in the 2000 election. IPR wrote op-eds on the subject in newspapers like the New York Post and participated in forums sponsored by think tanks like Demos.
● Providing and participating in forums for the discussion of critical issues like the production of a New York cable television program on the 2004 election, speaking at such local and national events as the first annual conference of the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute in Los Angeles, the annual policy Institute of the National Puerto Rican Coalition in Orlando, and others.
● Conducting research on Latino voting, such as writing the chapter on New York in the book, Muted Voices: Latinos and the 2000 Election.
● Mobilizing the largest gathering of Puerto Rican community activists from throughout the United States in years by being the leading force behind the convening of Encuentro Boricua 2004, on May 21-22 at Hostos Community College in the South Bronx.
● Convened the first Northeast Regional Meeting of Latino Political Action Committees (PAC) in cooperation with the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, resulting in the creation of the L-PAC Listserv moderated by us.
Promoting an increasing awareness of critical issues facing the nation’s growing Puerto Rican population and its relationship to Puerto Rico by:
● Producing the first ever Atlas of Stateside Puerto Ricans, under contract with the government of Puerto Rico, which documented for the first time that the Stateside Puerto Rican population had become larger than that of Puerto Rico.
● Compiling and disseminating a Latino Datanote that brought attention to the high poverty rate of Stateside Puerto Ricans and compared the socioeconomic status of Stateside with Island Puerto Ricans for the first time.
● Co-edited a new book that presents the first general history of Puerto Ricans in New York City entitled, Boricuas in Gotham: Puerto Ricans in the Making of Modern New York City.
Holding the media accountable to the Latino community by:
● Mobilizing community support and providing technical research support to efforts to challenge the measurement of Latino television audiences by the Nielsen Research Media, including the first study ever conducted analyzing the Nielsen methodology that was conducted by the National Latino Media Council.
● Housing the New York Chapter of the National Hispanic Media Coalition and assisting in its monitoring of the diversity agreements signed by ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.
● Helping the National Hispanic Media Coalition develop their first foundation-funded effort, the Latino Media Policy Consortium, which was funded by the Ford Foundation.
Providing The Latino Policy Forum series for the discussion of critical policy issues affecting the Latino community, such as:
● The “30th Anniversary of the Aspira Consent Decree” and the future of bilingual education in New York, which brought together the original attorneys that brought the Aspira lawsuit in 1972 and bilingual education advocates.
● “Latinos and the New Culture Wars: The Hispanic Threat to this Country’s National Security, Race Relations ... and Other Rightwing Fantasies,” which brought together leading Latino scholars to discuss the implications of two recent book: Huntington’s Who We Are and Vaca’s Presumed Alliance.
Developing a Latino Data Center to provide timely Census and other statistics on Latino trends and to monitor the planning of the 2010 Census, by
● Being an active participant in the Census Bureau’s Census Information Center Program as an officer of the program’s National Steering Committee, and participating in all the national meetings of the Urban Institute, CIC, the State Data Centers and the Racial and Ethnic Advisory Committees to the Census.
● Beta testing new software, such as IBM’s ¡Traducelo Ahora! web-based translation program.
● Being the only organization in the country that has independently monitored a field test for the year 2010 Census, conducting meetings and focus groups with Latino community-based organizations and leaders in the 2004 Queens test site. The result will be a report evaluating the test from a community-based perspective.
● Making presentations on Census issues as they affect Latinos before such organizations as the National Association of Ethnic Studies at the annual meeting in Philadelphia, the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, the National Puerto Rican Coalition, the Pennsylvania Statewide Latino Coalition as well as local community-based institutions such as Boricua College, the New York State Assembly, and others.
● Conducting a survey of the data needs of Latino community-based organizations on the East Coast and in Puerto Rico that will result in a report to be issued in early 2005 under the working title, Beyond the Cuchifrito Syndrome: Assessing the Data Needs of Latino Nonprofits.
Increasing government accountability to the Latino community by:
● Developing a New York City Latino Municipal Priorities Project as a national pilot, taking advantage of the 2005 Mayoral elections.
● Competing research on an analysis of the responsive of over 40 NYC government agencies to the needs of the Latino community.
● Completing research on the employment of Latinos by New York City government and assessing the state of its workforce diversity.
● Releasing a report on the exclusion of Latinos from the NYC private hospitals’ policymaking positions entitled, Condition Critical: The Absence of Latinos from Policymaking Positions in New York City’s Voluntary Hospitals, by Annette Fuentes. The follow-up to the report will monitor how local, state and federal regulatory agencies have responded to this problem.
● Speaking at various conferences and other forums on the role of policy advocacy, such as the annual conference of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture held in Kansas City and government bodies such as the New York City Council.
Finally, don’t forget to visit our Policy Library on the Web, it’s at:

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