Join the Campaign to Fight Asthma and Dirty Air in Latino Communities!

By Jorge Madrid on 06/02/2011 @ 07:00 PM

Tags: Center for American Progress, asthma, Jorge Madrid

LULAC and the Center for American Progress Action Fund Push for Cleaner Air

By Jorge Madrid, Center for American Progress

Espanol

LULAC is partnering with the Center for American Progress Action Fund to lead a campaign against asthma and other harmful health effects from coal-fired power plants. This campaign is already underway, and it will continue until July 2, 2011.

Asthma affects all Americans. But Latino communities are particularly vulnerable to respiratory diseases such as asthma. They are three times more likely than whites to die from it. Latino children are also 60 percent more at risk than white children to suffer asthma attacks. These crippling health disparities are made worse by the fact that Latinos are the least likely of all ethnic groups to have health insurance and access to treatment and preventive care.

Higher asthma rates also mean more missed days of work and school in addition to increased medical costs. Every day in America, 40,000 people miss school or work due to asthma, and 5,000 people visit the emergency room due to the disease.

Asthma is triggered by dirty air, and asthma rates are higher in places with bad air quality. Exhaust from cars, factory emissions, smoke, and dust cause poor air quality, which can aggravate the lungs and worsen chronic lung diseases, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Coal-fired power plants are also a big part of the problem. Power plant pollutants are a well-known trigger, as is smog. Asthma has no known cure, but it can be controlled by limiting exposure to these triggers.

The EPA is responsible for protecting our children and families from dangerous pollutants and toxins. They have a proven track record of reducing deaths and illness due to stronger clean air standards.

The EPA took a critical step toward cleaner air on March 16, 2011, by proposing its first-ever air toxics standards for coal-fired plants. The proposed rule would limit emissions of mercury, arsenic, and other air toxics from power plants for the first time. Adoption of the air toxics rule will prevent approximately 17,000 premature deaths, 120,000 asthma attacks, and 12,000 hospitalizations and emergency room visits every year in 2016, according to EPA.

All Americans should make a strong statement to the EPA that they want reductions in mercury, arsenic, and other toxic air pollution from power plants. Latino communities in particular can send a message that they want clean, healthy air for their children and families.

LULAC urges its members to take action against asthma and dirty air in our communities!

iTome medidas para asegurar un aire limpio ahora!

Join us at the NO MAS HAMBRE Summit in Washington, DC!

By Alfredo Estrada on 05/06/2011 @ 12:00 PM

Tags: no mas hambre, Alfredo Estrada

Join us at the NO MAS HAMBRE Summit in Washington DC!

By Alfredo Estrada, Publisher, LATINO Magazine

Although nearly 50 million Americans went hungry last year, for Latinos, the figures are even grimmer. About 29.4% of Latinos faced hunger, almost twice as much as other Americans. Yet for many of us, this overwhelming health disparity remains a dark secret when, in fact, few issues impact us and our families so directly, so viscerally. It's literally a matter of life and death. But hunger in the Latino community is rarely discussed.

Why is this? There are no easy answers. We are a proud people, and the thought that we cannot feed our young children and aging parents, much less ourselves, is deeply shameful. Even if we must go hungry, some of us prefer to ignore it. There are stigmas attached to accepting charity from strangers. Even if there weren't, many recent immigrants would think twice about entering a government-supported Food Bank for fear of being deported. In California and Texas, where two thirds of Latinos live, there is a fingerprint requirement to applying for food stamps, known as SNAP. As can be imagined, barely half of Latinos who are eligible for SNAP actually receive assistance.

But there is another reason. Many Latinos simply don't know the facts. Clearly, Latino media has not done enough to inform our community that almost one in three of us go hungry. And even those who are informed often don't know the range of assistance which is available in this country. No one need go hungry. There are government funded programs, such as SNAP, a vast network of Food Banks and Soup Kitchens around the country, and an army of volunteers working to end hunger. Yet, if Latinos don't know about it, we can't help ourselves.

LATINO Magazine proposes to address this lack of awareness through an initiative called NO MAS HAMBRE. Its objective is to raise public awareness of hunger in our community through articles in LATINO Magazine, our website at NoMasHambre.com, and during our No MAS HAMBRE Summit taking place this month in Washington, DC. This first-of-its-kind event will bring together Latino community leaders, hunger relief experts, government officials, corporate executives, and the community to develop a Latino-centric anti-hunger agenda. Among the speakers is Brent Wilkes, Executive Director of the League of United Latin American Citizens.

I invite you to join us at the NO MAS HAMBRE Summit. It will be held on Tuesday May 17, 2011 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St., NW in Washington, DC. The day begins with a registration breakfast at 8 AM. The conference starts at 9 AM with keynote remarks by Vicki Escarra, President of Feeding America, and will continue with interactive panels and roundtable discussions with experts in the field. There is a complimentary lunch at 12-1 PM. The Summit concludes with a Town Hall meeting ending at 4 PM. There is no cost to attend and there will be free parking at the hotel. To register, please go to www.latinomagazine.com/nmhregistration.htm .

I hope to see you there! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at info.nomashambre@gmail.com. ¡Gracias!

LULAC National Youth - Changing the Nation, One Project at a Time

By Andres Rodriguez on 04/27/2011 @ 04:41 PM

Tags: youth, Andres Rodriguez

As National L.U.L.A.C. Youth Vice President for the Far West Region, I find it an honor to be a part of our youth’s leaders and represent L.U.L.A.C. on a national level. As the National Youth Board approaches the second meeting of the 2010-2011 year, many thoughts and future projects arise. We’ve recently launched a national fundraiser by selling “I LOVE LULAC” lanyards (www.LULAC.org/lanyard ) to the nation’s councils which would also benefit them as they can sell throughout their communities. Also, our National Historian and Director of Publicity, Sandra Jurado, is creating the National L.U.L.A.C. Youth blog (www.lulacyouth.tumblr.com). Future projects include philanthropic actions such as a monetary donation to the Red Cross in response to the Earthquake in Japan and a Baseball Bat and Glove Drive to distribute to children in Central and South American countries. We plan to help youth not only through these projects, but also through political action. We will be discussing creating a resolution on behalf of the important national issues, such as Bullying. Through types of action like this, we can stand up for those who can’t help themselves.

Preparing for the upcoming National Convention in Cincinnati has become a challenging, yet exciting task. As soon as one of the board members comes up with an idea for a workshop or activity, it is posted on the Facebook group page where all board members can receive and view the idea. For the upcoming convention, we have planned visits to Wright State University and the University of Cincinnati. A trip to the King’s Island amusement park is also planned in hopes of creating stronger bonds within our LULAC youth councils. The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park may also spark the interests of many youth. It contains four sites- the Wright Cycle Company Complex, the Wright Brothers Aviation Center at Carillon Park, the Huffman Prairie Flying Field and Interpretive Center on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and the Paul Laurence Dunbar House. As we explore many of Cincinnati’s attractions that the youth would enjoy, we also hope that it can be taken in as educational experience. This is what we believe leading a nation of youth is all about – educating the Latino youth of America and encouraging all of us to share our knowledge with our communities.

For more information about the LULAC Youth, please visit www.LULAC.org/youth. Follow us @lulacyouth on Twitter!

Yours Truly,
Andres Rodriguez
National Vice President for the Far West Region

TELECOMMUNICATIONS, TECHNOLOGY AND BROADBAND POLICY: WHERE ARE THE LATINO INTERESTS?

By Jason Llorenz, Esq. on 04/25/2011 @ 11:15 AM

Tags: technology, Jason Llorenz

TELECOMMUNICATIONS, TECHNOLOGY AND BROADBAND POLICY: WHERE ARE THE LATINO INTERESTS?

For years, LULAC has lead the way in a coalition of national Latino-serving organizations who advocate for Hispanic communities in the little-understood areas of telecommunications, technology and broadband access. This advocacy has influenced the national policy conversation to the benefit of millions of Americans. The issues of today include a vast array of policy options and intricate legal and regulatory matters. In a policy community that expects these community institutions to focus on more easily understood areas, such as health, immigration and economic development, the question is often asked, what is the Latino interest in telecommunications and broadband technology?

The interest is simple, but not small – jobs, economic development, learning, and inclusion in American life are all connected to these policies. There is no American issue without a context in broadband Internet access or communication. And the policy debates had in Washington are of key importance to ensuring Latinos have an opportunity to adopt the technologies and use them for the community’s advancement. The jobs of the future will be more technical and will leverage technology. The most highly paid jobs, in fact, will continue to be in the technology sector, despite economic recessions. There is no more important time to ensure that all Latinos are connected to the Internet and are building digital skills.

In such a rapidly evolving, innovative space, regulations are very important. Poorly devised regulations can enforce a ceiling on an industry’s activities when the marketplace may demand more than a new set of rules would. Or, new rules that make investment harder to secure, may make it harder or slower for a company to build out new or novel services that benefit consumers. A poor understanding of the diverse Latino community, from language to training and consumer choices, may result in rules that benefit some, and hurt the most vulnerable.

And so, the Latino interest in arcane rules and regulations that are outside of the more easily recognized “Latino” issues is real, and we all must pay more attention. Below is a short, abbreviated menu of some of the issues facing us right now:

Spectrum – Spectrum allows our mobile phones and devices to function over the airwaves. With all of us using more spectrum with the advent of the iPhone and droid (5000% more on some networks in just a matter of years), the airwaves are getting crowded, resulting in dropped calls and slow services. One option is for prices to be raised in order to drive usage down – an option that would be a negative for all. The FCC and Congress are moving to take action to make more spectrum available to wireless providers in order to keep prices low and service quality high. Note: Latinos rely on their mobile devices for every service, from email to web access, to texts, than any other American community.

Universal Service Fund (USF) – Every phone user pays into the Universal Service Fund, which provides billions of dollars to support new telephone build out in rural and hard to reach communities, like Puerto Rico, and also provides phone access to low-income individuals through the Lifeline program. The program is operating on old rules that were devised before the Internet. Reform of USF must include making funds available to subsidize broadband. Note: While Latinos lead the way in adopting wireless broadband, they trail far behind in adopting home broadband. Cost and familiarity/value are two often-cited reasons for this lag in adoption. USF reform offers an opportunity to address this, and help to close the digital divide.

Inter-carrier compensation (ICC) – ICC is an arcane group of rules that have spawned hundred million dollar profits out of attractive “free” telecom services. Free conference call lines, for example, pull phone traffic into businesses based in rural states by incentivizing consumers to use their “free” services, and then leverage the rules to be paid millions of dollars from phone carriers for doing so. This literally pulls millions of dollars away from investment in new infrastructure and services. The rules were created to compensate small, rural phone carriers for carrying transfer traffic, never to generate business fro pulling calls into a state.
The issues in the telecommunications and technology space – and the overall policy environment influencing American innovation are Latino issues. Like banking issues, pension management, energy and budget, our national organizations must continue to have a voice on the matters that will be at the center of American prosperity. Because of the advocacy of LULAC, and other members of the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) policymakers are more aware of the unique issues facing Latinos in the 21st Century.

Jason Llorenz, Esq. is Executive Director of the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) a coalition of more than 20 national Hispanic-serving organizations working to realize access to technology for underserved and unserved communities.

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