The trauma of these last four years, culminating in the universal vulnerability of this past year, did its best to break us. Yet, we are still standing. Tending to fresh wounds and the pain still sore, but we are ready. Ready to press into a New Era. Not simply working towards a more perfect Union, but as Amanda Gorman asserted, “striving to forge a union with purpose.”
How will we get there and build the bridge to this new era? First, we work together to end this pandemic. At the Latino Community Foundation (LCF), we launched our campaign to accelerate vaccination rates in our most vulnerable communities and amongst our essential workers. Equitable access to vaccines is our top priority. The lives of our relatives is what’s at stake. Read more about our ongoing work here.
We are simultaneously working on healing and rebuilding. Our first event in 2021 with our community partners was a celebration of our strengths and the power of culture, music, and art to heal our hearts. The mental health toll is heavy – and the wellbeing of our community leaders remains a priority for LCF.
On rebuilding, we dare to reimagine a new normal with renewed fervor. After hearing from many of you, we sent the Biden Administration a letter outlining key policy priorities for the first 100 days. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and elevating the voices of Latinos across the United States. At the state level, we have been persistent in our advocacy for a 2021-22 budget and stimulus plan that prioritizes all working families regardless of citizenship status.
In the coming months, we will be investing $1 million in grants to advance economic mobility in the Central Valley. Our goal: a just, inclusive economy where Latino families, small business owners, and essential workers are given an equal opportunity to prosper.
We may be tired, but we have not grown weary of sowing the seeds of social change. Despite the avalanche of crises we’ve faced these past four years, we have laid a firm foundation to unleash the civic and economic power of Latinos. In four years, we’ve raised nearly $30 million and invested in Latino-led organizations who are opening doors of opportunities for youth to graduate college, become civic leaders, and start their own businesses.
Working with our community partners, we organized, mobilized, and engaged Latino youth to exercise their right to vote, and we delivered record turn outs in the 2018 and 2020 elections. Our commitment was to fan the flames of hope in the midst of one of the most anti-immigrant, anti-Latino political environments. Today, LCF is home to the largest network of Latino philanthropists in the country dedicated to the essentials of the American dream: love, justice, and equity.
There is a lot of work to get done, but I remain hopeful because of the unwavering determination and passionate commitment of these leaders. WE can move towards a new normal in our country. It will take all of us to get there – and a new social contract that will live up to the ideals of our nation. LCF is poised to lead and get us closer to where we need to go from here.
We will one day look back together and remember Amanda Gorman’s words…
“That even as we grieved, we grew.
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried.”
In the dawn of this new era, we are so grateful for you and your commitment to join us on this journey.
With Heartfelt Gratitude,
Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, Latino Community Foundation CEO