Centro Hispano engages in extensive and substantial advocacy in:
Comprehensive immigration reform at the local and national levels;
Comprehensive public school reform and the rights and access to services by Latino students at risk of not completing high school;
Dual language and bilingual education (we are working on the implementation of a plan to convert near south side Head Start Centers and schools in places that promote bilingualism in English and Spanish; and we have agreements with collaborating institutions of higher education to prepare the bilingual adults who will work on this initiative);
Police/community relations (we are a member of the Milwaukee Police Community Relations Commission and promote policing that truly “serves and protects”);
Health education and referrals in a community with a major health disparity problem;
Latino succession and demographic information awareness, especially through our web site;
Latino civic engagement and voter mobilization; and
Latino civil rights and equality.
Centro Hispano also holds annually a major Thanksgiving Food Drive (which impacts over 5,000); El Día del Niño (a celebration of children and families that attracts close to 1,000); a national conference on Educating and Graduating Latino high School Students; and an annual Dual Language Bilingual Enrichment Conference. The organization’s web page (www.spanishcenter-milw.org) is also a source of information and data on Latinos in Wisconsin and Milwaukee.
Over the years, the organization has engaged in a vast program of partnering with other community-based non profits in the Milwaukee area, and organizations that complement its services and programs to the Latino community. In particular, it provides space in its facilities for nonprofit organizations that are still evolving, and which are very promising. Specifics on the partnerships in each of the buildings of Centro Hispano can be found on the section below on Facilities and Buildings.
- Milwaukee remains one of the most impoverish big cities in the US with a poverty rate of 29%.
- According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (September 19, 2912), there are 171,500 city residents, including 67,229 children (43%), living in poverty.
- Among minorities, 41% of African Americans and 35% of Latinos live in poverty; and 83% of students in the Milwaukee Public Schools are eligible for free or reduced lunch.
- In 2011, the median household in the city was $33,122, while in Wisconsin it was $50,395.
- In the Milwaukee County, 12.8% of residents were uninsured in 2011. Some speculate that Milwaukee Latinos without insurance or underinsured may be closer to 30%.
- According to the UW-Milwaukee Employment Training Center, the health care safety net for adults without dependent children at home has been weakened with 14,300 fewer Milwaukee County residents in the BadgerCare Plus Core Plan in January 2012 than two years earlier. They also reported that the unemployment rate in Milwaukee County was estimated at 7.8% in December 2011.
- Unemployment in the city of Milwaukee (estimated at 12.3% in March 2010) was at its highest level in the last 20 years.
- One in 5 Milwaukee County residents is now using a government safety net (FoodShares, BadgerCare Plus, or both).
- Since June 2011, however, the employed workforce has dropped by 2,628 while the number of unemployed job seekers (including summer workers) is down by 10,225, for an estimated decrease in the labor force of 12,853.