a) CIVIC PARTICIPATION: Latinos For Democracy & 2020 CENSUS
Two main challenges have created under representation, limited participation and divestment in the Latino community in Georgia.
- Limited civic engagement
- Consistent undercounting during the decennial census.
The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute 2017 Report on the benefits of citizenship, shows that 195,000 individuals in Georgia could become naturalized citizens yet fewer than 10% complete the process each year. A concerted effort by Georgia lawmakers and community leaders to encourage lawful permanent residents to become citizens and smooth their path could add up to $639 million in annual earnings to the state’s economy and as much as $62 million a year in state and local tax revenue.
Gaining citizenship, provides immigrants with important benefits, including receiving higher earnings, better job prospects and a greater likelihood of homeownership.
Additionally, new and diverse voices engaged in the electoral process are usually more representative of the local communities and therefore able to advocate for more equitable and inclusive policies and laws. Latinx in Georgia are approximately 50% of all the eligible green card holders ready to naturalize.
Additionally, we know the Latino population has been undercounted for years.
Specifically, in Georgia, we know 2010 Census mail return rates were around 70%, leading us to believe that approximately 30% of our children have been undercounted in 2010. (CUNY Hard-to-Count 2010 Census Map)
With the challenges of the 2020 Census, including not only a citizenship question but limited investments in outreach, bilingual testing, and a digital-only platform, it is imperative we fund local grassroots organizations deeply embedded into our communities to provide technology access for educational purposes, education and outreach.
Our strategies include:
- The LATINOS FOR DEMOCRACY voter mobilization campaign. A coordinated effort of five organizations is educating, registering and encouraging our community to vote,
- The seeding of the Latinx Census and Civic Participation Fund to provide financial support to organizations dedicated to embedding civic participation work, education and outreach in their programs as well as advocacy as well
- Participation in the Georgia Latinx Complete Count Committee (spearheaded by GALEO) aiming for a complete count in the state in 2020.
b) A Wealth Building Agenda for Latinx in Georgia
Latinos build wealth through homeownership, workforce development and entrepreneurship. Out of those options, entrepreneurship is the only one that allows for families and individuals to bypass documentation challenges.
The Latino Community Fund, in partnership with the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, Goizueta Business School, Invest Atlanta, the Small Business Development Center (Office of Minority Business) and a number of community partners, is producing the first Georgia Latino Entrepreneurship Study. The project focused on micro, small and medium-sized businesses 51% owned by Latinx/Hispanics aims to develop a profile and needs assessment of Latino businesses in the state and evidence-based recommendations, programs and toolkits to facilitate the formalization, efficiency and growth of Latino entrepreneurs in the state.
Findings on the report are expected to be announced at the end of February. Interested in supporting this project? Email us.
c) Families WellBeing. Health Means Business
Immigration enforcement, access to higher education, lack of health insurance, affordable housing, technology gaps, all contribute as social determinations to the health, and well-being of our communities in Georgia.
Georgia is the #1 state for businesses yet Atlanta, its capital, ranks among the worst cities in the country for economic mobility. 41% of all Latinos in the state under 17 years old live in poverty and in 2016, the real per capita income was lower than it was in 2000.
Our approach is two-fold:
- Connect providers and community leaders among themselves to explore economies of scale, discuss avenues for collaboration and learn from each other. The Annual Latino Summit, a convening and learning opportunity for nonprofit professionals, government executives and businesses, focus on these intersections and includes a resource fair for the community. This event is organizations in partnership with Ser Familia.
- Community asset mapping. There are three reasons why our families, students and entrepreneurs do not take advantage of the current services and programs offered:
- Lack of knowledge that the programs exist
- Lack of time and transportation to get to where the programs and services are delivered and
- Lack of cultural or language competencies where the programs/services are delivered.
LCF Georgia is working on the creation of a map with all points of service and programs that are culturally and linguistically appropriate across the state. This exercise will be updated every year as we discover and gather new information from community organizations.
The intended outcome is threefold:
- For families, to know where to find help
- For nonprofits, to learn about geographic pockets without services and explore expansion and collaboration opportunities
- For funders, to identify possible partners based on geographic location or area of service.