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Report Calls for Presidential Commission on Latino Issues

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by DIVERSE Staff


WASHINGTON

The University of Denver (DU) Latino Center and Grupo Salinas’ Fundacion Azteca America, a non-profit affiliate of Azteca America Television Network, are calling for a U.S. presidential commission on Latino issues to increase access to educational, health, economic and civic opportunities.

The recommendation was part of a report that also concludes that a lack of immigration reform widens disparities and limits the future progress of the Latino population and the nation.

DU and Fundacion Azteca America had previously released the introduction to the report during the Democratic National Convention.  On Monday, they released the full report in anticipation of a Sept. 23 televised policy briefing for members of the U.S. Congress and representatives of the presidential campaigns.

The report, “The State of Latinos 2008: Defining an Agenda for the Future,” was produced by the university’s Latino Center for Community Engagement and Scholarship.

“We’re proud to be here in Washington to present these findings,” said Luis J. Echarte, chairman of Azteca America and Fundacion Azteca America. The Fundacion Azteca America, Fundacion Azteca, Azteca America and TV Azteca are companies of Mexican conglomerate Grupo Salinas.

“A united Latino voice needs to be presented on these issues that are of vital interest to the country as a whole and is another example of Grupo Salinas’s commitment to deliver values to the community which it serves,” he said.

The report is the result of academic research and consultations with panelists at the State of Latinos event held in Denver on May 30. The University of Denver’s Latino Center also held a forum with prominent local community leaders and leading academics to complement the consultation process.

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“We are proud that the University of Denver, through its Latino Center, has been able to focus its talent and energies on these great issues, and that it has done so in a manner that moves beyond analysis to recommendations and a call for action,” said DU Chancellor Robert Coombe. “As a university with very deep roots in Colorado, we have both the opportunity and the obligation to address Latino issues in a positive and productive manner.”

The report focuses on five issues of importance to the Latino community: education, health care, the economy, immigration and the Latino vote.

On educational issues, the report notes that projections indicate that over the next 25 years, the population of Latinos ages 5 to 24 is expected to

increase by 82 percent.

“The growing numbers of Latino youth create moral, economic, and civil rights

imperatives for the nation,” the report said. “While educational progress has been made over the past decades, wide disparities persist between the achievement of white students and Latinos. Such disparities remain widely unchanged since 1971.”

It also argued that Latinos are of ten “miseducated and undereducated,” resulting in a persistent achievement gap. The report also outlined steps to address the problems.

“Researchers also question whether the gap is related to achievement or a lack of resources and equitable practices, pointing to the shortcomings of the U.S. educational system,” the report said.

The full text of the report is available at http://www.fundacionaztecaamerica.org/ or http://www.du.edu/newsroom/releases/media/agendalatina.pdf

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