The oldest surviving Latino civil rights group in the USA has a new home at Loras College. Loras received certification as a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the United States.
“Being a part of LULAC provides a unique experience for Latinos to get involved with multiple issues and really provide leadership for Dubuque,” said Sergio Perez (’13), director of intercultural programs. “It is a way for Loras students to become more responsible citizens.”
LULAC’s mission is focused on advancing the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 1,000 LULAC councils nationwide. The organization involves and serves all Hispanic nationality groups.
“This is not just representation but leadership for Latino students to get involved,” said Perez. “LULAC has many different interests. It isn’t a single-issue entity because it is made of so many different people. LULAC includes Mexican Americans, Venezuelans, Colombians and other Hispanic groups, so there is diversity that provides rich experiences for anyone who wants to get involved.”
Efforts to secure the charter were led by Rodrigo Espino (’21) over the course of the spring semester as he met with fellow students to gauge the interest levels. With the charter secured, the next steps are to determine the best ways to build the Loras organization moving forward, including more premiere events on campus.
Loras is just the fifth university or college in Iowa to receive a LULAC charter. Currently, sixteen students are part of the initial charter, making them eligible for scholarships and other opportunities, including access to the national convention.
In addition to current students, the charter makes Loras more appealing to high school students who are already involved in LULAC, making it easy for them to continue their memberships as Duhawks.