Salud! Here's to Bright Futures for Latino Youth in Chicago
Our National Program Office team just completed the first leg on our national tour of grant sites, visiting the National Museum of Mexican Art with its Radio Arte youth radio operation, and Latinos Progresando, with its Teatro Americano community engagement initiative. Their New Routes collaboration, Salud: Healing through the Arts, will feature first voice radio and theater productions exploring the hopes, worries and realities of Latino immigrant youth in Chicago.
At Radio Arte, the core mission is teaching young people and new immigrants the fundamentals of radio production and journalism. In the process, many students gain confidence that propels them forward to higher education, and into the new media-related workforce. Teatro Americano does similar work, helping Latino teens dramatize their experiences in an improvisational way that draws the audience into the action. Last year their production focused on the struggles of being the child of a Mexican parent in Chicago, coming of age as an observer and participant in two cultures.
A whole lot of people and institutions are “coming of age” in the neighborhoods of Pilsen and Little Village in Chicago, and marketers are taking notice. Businesses, from fast food outlets to military recruiters, see their future market in Latino youth, the fastest growing demographic in the U. S. But while opportunities to sell to Latino youth seem limitless, opportunities for Latino youth to step into the real American dream of a college education and competitive for non-service sector jobs remain illusive. In these predominantly Mexican neighborhoods, Salud: Healing through the Arts planners are deeply aware of why their leadership matters so much. They understand that they are the role models and mentors who will shape new leaders and real opportunity for Latino youth out of this program.
Radio Arte Station Manager Silva Riviera came up through the WRTE ranks, where only a few years ago she worked as a volunteer student producer. She was the recipient of the 2007 Chicago Foundation for Women Founder’s Award For Young Women Advocates and was cited for “her commitment to using media and the arts to empower youth and marginalized peoples.” Recently, she was elected to serve on the board of directors of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.
Luis Gutierrez, Executive Director and founder of Latinos Progresando, was named one of the 2007 recipients of the Community Renewal Society's prestigious 35 Under 35 Leadership Awards. He also chairs the Immigration Committee of Latinos United and is on the Illinois Coordinating Committee for the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, a national Latino- and Caribbean-led umbrella advocacy organization.
“Capacity building,” helping institutions, individuals and immigrant communities to grow and lead, is one measure of success we are looking for in for all New Routes Grantees. In is Chicago collaboration, capacity building, providing training and mentoring, is each organizations’ core mission. We at the national program office look forward to learning from Salud. We can’t wait to see who among the participants in this program will emerge as new leaders for Latino youth in Chicago.
Watch and Listen
New Research & Recommendations
This report (PDF 3.8MB) offers guidance for community organizations and those who fund social change in how best to harness the power of local media-making for community health improvement. Spanish-language version is now available. Una versión en español de este informe esta en la web.