Siglo XXI Sheds Light on U.S. Latino Issues

Daisy Cocco de Filippis, president, Naugatuck Valley Community College in Connecticut, issued a call to fellow scholars, Latino families and the community at large to make it a top priority to advocate and encourage more Latinos to go to college. She was the keynote speaker at the Siglo XXI: Forging the Future of Latinos in a Time of Crisis conference.

“Our young people are having difficulties with their own sense of self worth and in finding relevance in what we teach in our classroom,” she said. “Getting young Latinos on the path to a college education, college completion, and career needs to be the top priority in the Latino agenda for the 21st Century.”

Sponsored by The Inter-University Program for Latino Research, the Siglo XXI conference convened a network of scholars, researchers, and faculty from national institutions to provide an assessment of current research on Latino education, health, politics, civic engagement, labor and economics, immigration, the arts, and culture and society. Through dialogue and the sharing of new academic research and scholarship, the conference explored issues affecting the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population.

This was IUPLR’s fourth biennial conference, which ran from February 23-25 at John Jay College, explored timely issues with a special focus on Latinos such as the U.S. economy, labor disparities and unemployment, demographics, immigration, and politics. The conference’s goal was to shed light on how U.S. Latinos are forging the future and restructuring American life.

IUPLR is a national consortium of university-based centers dedicated to the advancement of the Latino intellectual presence in the United States. IUPLR works to expand the pool of Latino scholars and leaders and increase the availability of policy-relevant Latino-focused research.
CUNY Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson spoke about CUNY and the various ways it has done outreach in the Latino and immigrant community year round to give them more access to CUNY.

“We have a whole lot more work to do, and I take pride, enormous pride in what we are doing at CUNY,” he said, adding that he was grateful to be a part of the conference.

“I have such great respect for your intellect, for your dedication, and for your persistence, especially in a very difficult climate that we all know is not the most easy one politically.”

A CUNY alumna, Cocco de Filippis reflected on how she was given an opportunity to learn and grow in the early 1970s and how CUNY impacted her life.

“I benefited greatly from open admissions and a rich and supportive liberal studies program that was inclusive and inviting and that recognized the importance of having students see themselves in the curriculum.”

She called on Latino families to create the conditions so their children could learn and dare to imagine and for community members from all walks of life to advocate more for quality and fair public education for Latino students.

Edwin Meléndez, Centro director, was this year’s IUPLR Distinguished Lecture at a luncheon attended by scholars and students. He delivered a speech titled “Economic Opportunity for Latino/as in a Time of Crisis,” which focused on Latinos and the challenges and opportunities in the labor force.

“Latino/a economic disparities are the direct result of labor-market dynamics that induce the concentration of Latino/as in low-wage jobs and to a concentration in neighborhoods with ineffective or nonexistent ties to mainstream institutions,” Meléndez said.
“Social isolation and exclusion as an explanation of economic disparities focuses our attention on collective action to strengthen our own institutions and leads us to see economic opportunity as something that we seek and make, not something that is made for or given to us.

“The question of social isolation and exclusion is a theme that is examined through the Siglo XXI conference,” he said. “We are here to learn from the diverse experiences of Latino/as and to formulate more effective strategies to overcome social disparities.”

IUPLR honored Dr. Virginia Sanchez Korrol, historian, with a lifetime achievement award at a reception at the Centro Library and Archives, Silberman School of Social Work in East Harlem. She said the award is not only an acknowledgement of her own work, her life passion, but it was an acknowledgement to everyone dedicated to Latino studies. She also recalled her days growing up in the South Bronx and her love for telling stories. IUPLR offered the tribute in honor of her “outstanding intellectual and scholarly contributions in the field of Latino Studies.”

Since 2005, the IUPLR biennial conference has grown to become the leading national academic conference in the field of Latino Studies. IUPLR’s strategic priorities are in the areas of research and dissemination, education, collaborative projects, capacity building and action. This year’s conference featured plenary panels and sessions with panelists affiliated with more than fifty-five universities throughout the United States and the Spanish Caribbean.

The event was co-sponsored and organized by five IUPLR member institutions and centers. They are the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, The Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute at CUNY City College, the Latin American and Latina/o Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at CUNY; and the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Events Calendar

2016 Fall Events Calendar

2016 Fall Events Calendar

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