Escape the Vape! Say “no” to Tobacco

Posted on 12/16/2021 @ 04:36 AM

Tags: Health

By Jennifer Reyes, Health Program Coordinator

In continuation of our partnership with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids aimed at addressing the impact tobacco use has on the Latino community, on December 6, 2021, LULAC hosted a virtual workshop with CTFK’s Director of Youth Advocacy, Gustavo Torrez. During this session, Gustavo guided youth and young adults through an interactive workshop, introducing participants to social setting prompts and situations with the goal of building confidence in handling peer pressure and successfully saying “no” to tobacco products in social settings..

It was interesting to hear the different reasons for which our youth and young adults choose to not vape. Andres Rodriguez, LULAC’s National Vice President for Young Adults, shared his testimony of why he chooses to stay tobacco free. He has seen first-hand how tobacco has impacted his family’s health through lung cancer and other tobacco related issues. The other young adults expressed similar sentiments of staying tobacco free because they value taking care of their health and well-being.

Your voice is powerful! If vaping is impacting you, your friends, family members or school, you can speak up and out. These are some simple ways you can take action.

  1. check out current actions you can take to take down commercial tobacco.
  2. learn the skills you need to advocate for change.
  3. Are you or a friend struggling with vaping? Text TAKEDOWN to 88709 for an anonymous text service designed to help young people quit vaping.

Additionally, LULAC and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids created a toolkit of curated guidance and resources for Latino youth and communities. The toolkit is in both Spanish and English and includes relevant background information on the tobacco industry’s targeting of Latino communities, tobacco products and use, health impacts of tobacco, scenarios on saying no, and messaging to encourage others to avoid tobacco. Check out the toolkits and learn more here:

LULAC and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Partnership

Posted on 11/16/2021 @ 01:15 PM

Tags: Health

By Jennifer Reyes, Health Program Coordinator

LULAC is dedicated to health equity among the Latino community. That is why we launched our Latinos Living Healthy initiative to discuss the health issues that impact our community including tobacco-use, obesity, HIV/AID, and lack of representation in clinical research. LULAC’s plan is to address these health inequalities by providing educational resources, hands-on training, bilingual guidance, and webinars.

This year, LULAC began partnering with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to address the impact tobacco use has on the Latino community. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is the leading advocacy organization working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world. Because ninety percent of adult smokers begin this deadly addiction as teenagers or earlier, youth are critical and powerful voices in the fight against tobacco. Through our partnership, LULAC hopes to inspire Hispanic youth and parents to learn more about the importance of being tobacco-free and aid families to build healthy habits to prolong their health.

LULAC and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids created a toolkit of curated guidance and resources for Latino youth and communities. The toolkit includes relevant background information on the tobacco industry’s targeting of Latino communities, tobacco products and use, health impacts of tobacco, scenarios on saying no, and messaging to encourage others to avoid tobacco. Check out the toolkit and learn more here:

Despite reductions in smoking prevalence achieved since the first Surgeon General’s report on the consequences of smoking in 1964, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Smoking accounts for more than 480,000 deaths in the United States each year, and is a major risk factor for the four leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and stroke. More than 43,000 Hispanics are diagnosed with tobacco-related cancer every year and more than 18,000 die from tobacco-related cancer each year. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanic men and the second leading cause among Hispanic women


Over 1.1 million middle and high school students still smoke. Nationwide, 5.8 percent of high school students and 2.3 percent of middle school students currently smoke. The most popular tobacco products among high schoolers are e-cigarettes. About 18.9% of Hispanic high school students reported using e-cigarettes and 23.3% report being current users of any tobacco product. Continuing a long tradition of designing products that appeal explicitly to new users, tobacco companies in recent years have significantly stepped up the introduction and marketing of flavored other tobacco products, particularly e-cigarettes and cigars, as well as smokeless tobacco and hookah.Tobacco companies market products in many kid-friendly flavors such as gummy bear, berry blend, chocolate, peach, cotton candy, strawberry, and grape. Flavored tobacco products play a key role in enticing new users, particularly kids, to a lifetime of addiction. This growing market for flavored tobacco products is undermining the nation’s overall progress in reducing youth tobacco use. 


Tobacco use and nicotine, found in commercial tobacco products, have serious impacts on mental and physical health.  Nicotine reaches the brain 10 seconds after entering your body and can have adverse effects on the developing brains of young people. Tobacco use can lead to memory and attention issues, stress, anxiety, and mood swings in young people. 

On October 14, 2021, LULAC hosted a virtual workshop with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ Director of Youth Advocacy, Gustavo Torrez. During this session, Gustavo discussed the effects of tobacco use on the physical and emotional health of young people as well as the impacts of tobacco use in the Latino community. 

If you wish to learn more about tobacco and LULAC’s partnership with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids please visit Stay tuned for our future events!

Watch the Smoking, Vaping and Your Health webinar with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids on YouTube

The Economy After a Pandemic: Establishing Latina Entrepreneurs in America

Posted on 10/15/2021 @ 09:15 AM

Tags: Empowerment, Women, Coronavirus

By Priscilla Garcia, Economic Empowerment Program Coordinator

COVID-19 impacted industries and the economy differently and the effects are everlasting. According to UnidosUs, the unemployment rate amongst Latinas in April of 2020 was 20.2% and a 30% loss in Latina-Owned businesses compared to 20% amongst all overall businesses. Latinas were one of the hardest hit demographics by the pandemic, they were the ones most likely to face food and housing insecurities and income losses. In order to help Latina entrepreneurs become successful in their fields, they need the tools necessary on how to run successful and sustainable businesses.

In February 2021 it was reported that there are one million fewer Latinas back in the workforce even though jobs have been opening back up again. 37% of Latinas have reported that the pandemic had a tremendous impact on their finances and still have not been able to recover. Post-pandemic LULAC is aiding in helping Latinos across the country recover from the effects of COVID-19 and aid those who want to take this opportunity to establish their own businesses and aid in stimulating the economy.

In 2021, The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), in partnership with The Coca-Cola Foundation awarded 6 new sites in the first phase of the Latina Entrepreneur Academy (LEA). LEA provides disadvantaged women the skills and resources necessary to be successful entrepreneurs. The academy will provide a series of informational sessions on various topics related to establishing and sustaining a small business: how to build a business plan, budgeting, marketing, networking, enhancing investor strategies, etc, that will better prepare women entering the business arena. Through this initiative, LULAC hopes to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit and provide support to driven Latinas who seek to launch and/or expand business endeavors.

LEA is currently in its third year of programming.Since its inception, LEA has grown tremendously. With so many young Latina entrepreneurs wanting to participate, the program has had to introduce a second phase to meet the needs of so many willing contenders that will take new applications in the Spring of 2022.

A total of 655 Latina entrepreneurs have participated in its 14 academies. At the end of the academy the participants are given the opportunity to compete in a competition amongst their peers for a chance to win some seed money to establish their small businesses. The following businesses have been awarded a total of $6,000 in 2020 to help them succeed as a small business.

Nancy Flores- Austin, TX-
At the end of the academy Nancy’s goal was to open her own digital media company offering representation and coverage of Latinx community news and culture in the Austin, TX area. She wanted a digital media company that would create a community and sense of belonging to allow for those represented to become engaged and involved in local issues and community.

Aura I. Aráuz- Germantown, MD-
House Delikatessen House Delikatessen is a family owned and operated business focused on offering delicatessen products that are high quality, hand crafted and have exceptional flavors. Aura is dedicated to keeping up with the demand fromtheir customers and was planning on expanding her business to offer more products from specialized suppliers.

Trina Price- Austin, TX 3rd place $500-
PEB Trina’s business is PEBSKY Staffing Services, (PSS) a Professional Employer Organization that acts as a co-employer in the hiring process for small/mid-size companies and remote workers. PEBSKY Staffing Services came into existence when Trina was a full-time college student, full-time worker, full-time single parent.

To learn more about Coca-Cola and LULAC’s partnership visit

Latina LEADS Empowers Latinas to Pursue STEAM Education and Careers

Posted on 08/25/2021 @ 11:45 AM

Tags: Technology, Education

By Melissa Cossio

LULAC recognizes that it is critical to empower youth and create a pipeline for Latinas to pursue STEAM college degrees and careers to reduce the economic and educational disparities that are all too prevalent in our communities.

STEM workers are enjoying significantly higher median annual wages than others in non-STEM occupations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in STEM occupations were earning a median annual wage of $89,780, as compared to workers in non-STEM occupations earning $40,020 in 2020. Not only are STEM occupations amongst the highest paid jobs, they are also some of the fastest growing industries. STEM occupations are projected to grow by 8% from 2019 to 2029, as compared to 3.4% for non-STEM occupations.

Although women across the United States have made significant strides in education and economic security, statistics show that Hispanic women still lag behind compared to their non-Hispanic counterparts. Even within the STEM fields, research finds significant pay gaps across gender and racial and ethnic lines. According to a report published in 2021 by the Pew Research Center, the median earnings of women in STEM occupations are about 74% of men’s median earnings in STEM. Hispanic women’s median annual earnings stand at $57,000 as compared to White men’s median annual earnings of $90,600. Furthermore, the National Science Foundation found that while women comprise 25% of the science and technology workforce, Hispanic women represent only 3% of this workforce.

In order to prepare our young women to break into in-demand careers, we must start early. This means promoting better career opportunities through education and mentoring at a young age.

Adding the “Arts” to STEM education is creating new opportunities by connecting the critical areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics together with arts practices and elements. STEAM education is an approach to learning that helps solve real-world problems and drive innovation. STEAM teaches students to take thoughtful risks, think critically about how to solve a problem, embrace teamwork and collaboration, and be creative.

LULAC and Spectrum, part of Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR), a leading broadband connectivity company and cable operator, developed the Latina LEADS (Leadership Entrepreneurship Academia Development Series) program. This robust and impactful program for Hispanic middle school-aged girls aims to increase their exposure to STEAM fields through workshops, interactive STEAM activities, keynote speakers, job shadowing, academic and career guidance, and more. The program curriculum features lessons in technology, engineering, cybersecurity, and broadcasting.

The 2019 program pilot cycle featured three (3) sites in Austin, TX who served 100 students. After completing the program, students reported feeling more supported by the adults in their lives and demonstrated an increased interest in succeeding academically, attending college, and pursuing an education and career in the STEAM fields. After participating, 100% of students now feel it is important to graduate from high school, and 95% now believe it is important for women to be in the STEAM fields.

LULAC and Spectrum are welcoming eight (8) sites for the 2021-2022 Latina LEADS program cycle. Learn more about each site below:

San Benito County LULAC Council #2890 - Hollister, CA
San Benito County LULAC Council #2890 believes it is highly imperative that young Latinas are supported with the opportunity to advance their knowledge in STEAM. These next generational leaders must know how important they are to our community and the country. They seek to serve Latinas with 21st century skills in growing demand and hope to encourage academic achievement, strategic and critical thinking, and an understanding of the digital world.

LULAC Women’s Council of Florida #7269- Bartow, FL
LULAC Women’s Council of Florida #7269 identified a great need for STEM education programming within the Polk County Schools and community in Florida. The Latina LEADS program will open their minds and the doors to numerous avenues for young girls, allowing them the opportunity to grow and foster their future careers both academically and professionally. Their vision for this program is not only to educate, but inspire. A key ingredient in their own council’s mission.

LULAC Council #39000 - Dayton, OH
LULAC Council #39000 wants to ensure Hispanic students in Ohio have access to quality and enriching STEAM opportunities to help them dream big and reach high for their own future and career goals. They are highlighting the importance of early academic intervention to support the development of lifelong learners and the future STEAM labor force of Ohio.

Latinitas - Austin, TX
Latinitas is dedicated to empowering all girls to innovate using media and technology, providing direct digital media and technology training and esteem-boosting services to 3,000 girls and teens across Texas annually. Their goal of cultivating a pipeline from the classroom to the technology workspace is achieved through Latinitas’ digital media+tech+culture formula that builds community and inclusivity.

SMU LULAC Council #4277 - Dallas, TX
Southern Methodist University (SMU) LULAC Council #4277 is empowering the next generation of Latina STEAM leaders by increasing their exposure to college and the STEAM fields. They believe that by providing students with experiences in STEAM they can spark an interest that a student may have not discovered otherwise. This exposure lets students discover new fields beyond the traditional career paths they are accustomed to hearing about.

Fab Lab El Paso - El Paso, TX
Fab Lab El Paso is providing Latina students in the El Paso and Greater El Paso area with workshops in critical 21st-century skills such as 3D printing, virtual reality, robotics, computer coding, and more through a PBL (project-based learning) model. They are an important education innovation advocate in the El Paso region and play a critical role in helping El Paso students access career pathways in technology fields.

LULAC Herencia Council #4297 - Killeen, TX
LULAC Herencia Council #4297’s mission is to inspire, nurture, and support the educational attainment of members of the Hispanic community and elevate those in need while fostering leadership to do the same for future generations. They are providing quality, meaningful programming for students in the Killeen area. The Latina LEADS program’s curriculum will reach at-risk Latinas who would normally not have access to STEAM programming outside of school instruction.

LULAC Concilio Zapatista #4383 - San Antonio, TX
LULAC Concilio Zapatista #4383 has partnered with the Brentwood STEAM School of Innovation with the mission “to build capacity in their students and staff, the next generation of leaders and explorers, using innovative STEAM practices to spark their learning to ensure they are globally competitive and armed with the tools and confidence to own their futures.”

Learn more about the Latina LEADS program at

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