The BC Scoop

The Latest Trends and Topics Surrounding the growing U.S. Hispanic Demographic

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By needing to retract on Friday their earlier assurances to customers that PIN numbers had not been stolen, Target effectively has morphed in the eyes of the public from a victim of crime to a co-conspirator. Not a good move brand-wise, trust-wise, reputation-wise, or business-wise.
Davia Temin, “Target’s Worst PR Nightmare: 7 Lessons from Target’s Well-Meant but Flawed Crisis Response” (via Forbes)

(Source: prweek)

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Nuevo reporte de America’s Health Rankings nota mejorías de salud en la población hispana americana

El Informe America’s Health Rankings de United Health Foundation Revela que los Estadounidenses Están Haciendo un Progreso Notable en las Principales Medidas de Salud

  • Hawaii es el estado más saludable
  • A nivel nacional, los estadounidenses hicieron mejoras en más de dos tercios de las medidas de salud
  • Las mejoras abarcan las medidas clave del comportamiento, como el consumo de tabaco y la inactividad física
  • Por primera vez desde 1998, la crisis de la obesidad de Estados Unidos no empeoró en el 2013 
  • Aún quedan desafíos importantes, pero mantener el ímpetu es fundamental

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MINNETONKA, MINN. (11 de diciembre de 2013) – Los estadounidenses están haciendo un progreso notable en su salud general, según el informe America’s Health Rankings® (Clasificación de la Salud en los Estados Unidos) 2013 de United Health Foundation. Un Llamado a la Acciónpara las Personas y Sus Comunidades.

A nivel nacional, los estadounidenses mejoraron en más de dos tercios de las medidas captadas por el informe. Los logros más notables se produjeron en las medidas clave del comportamiento, incluido el consumo de tabaco, que descendió del 21.2 por ciento de la población adulta al 19.6 por ciento. Diecisiete estados tuvieron reducciones importantes en el consumo de tabaco, y los mayores descensos se registraron en Nevada, Maryland, Oklahoma, Kansas y Vermont.

La inactividad física descendió del 26.2 por ciento de la población adulta al 22.9 por ciento, y la tasa de obesidad de Estados Unidos sigue siendo aproximadamente la misma que la informada en el 2012 (27.6 por ciento de la población adulta en el 2013 en comparación con el 27.8 por ciento en el 2012). Esto constituye la primera vez desde 1998 que las tasas de obesidad no han empeorado. 

Clasificaciones de los estados

Hawaii se ha coronado como el estado más saludable. Vermont, el estado que ocupó el puesto N.º 1 el año pasado, clasifica en segundo lugar este año y se ha mantenido entre los primeros cinco estados durante la última década. Minnesota ocupa el tercer lugar, seguido de Massachusetts y New Hampshire. Mississippi ocupa el lugar 50 este año, y Arkansas (49), Louisiana (48), Alabama (47) y West Virginia (46) completan la lista de los cinco estados menos saludables.

En el primer puesto, Hawaii obtuvo buenas puntuaciones en la mayoría de las medidas, especialmente por tener bajas tasas de personas sin seguro de salud, altas tasas de vacunación infantil y bajas tasas de obesidad, consumo de tabaco y hospitalizaciones prevenibles. Al igual que todos los estados, Hawaii también tiene áreas donde puede mejorar: tiene tasas más altas que el promedio de consumo excesivo de alcohol y muertes por accidentes laborales, y tasas más bajas que el promedio de graduación de la escuela secundaria.

Para ver las clasificaciones completas, visite: www.americashealthrankings.org.

A pesar del progreso, quedan desafíos importantes

Cuando se trata de mejorar la salud del país, aún resta mucho por hacer. La obesidad se ha estabilizado; sin embargo, debe seguir siendo una máxima prioridad, ya que el 27.6 por ciento de los adultos del país afirman ser obesos. Con tasas de inactividad física, consumo de tabaco y diabetes del 22.9 por ciento, 19.6 por ciento y 9.7 por ciento, respectivamente, aún se puede mejorar mucho en las medidas clave de salud.

“Me alienta el progreso que hemos hecho este año y espero que la estabilización que notamos en la obesidad de Estados Unidos sea un indicio de futuras mejoras”, expresó el Dr. Reed Tuckson, asesor médico sénior externo de United Health Foundation. “Sin duda debemos celebrar estos logros. Nos alientan a seguir identificando e implementando eficazmente las mejores prácticas en estas áreas así como en el manejo de la diabetes, las enfermedades cardíacas y otras condiciones de salud crónicas que afectan la salud y vitalidad de los estadounidenses”.

El Dr. Georges Benjamin, director ejecutivo de la American Public Health Association, comentó: “Todos los años, el informe America’s Health Rankings detalla, estado por estado, los éxitos y desafíos del país en materia de salud, detectando las áreas específicas en las que los ciudadanos y los estados por igual pueden concentrarse para continuar mejorando la salud de nuestra nación. Me complace ver el progreso que hemos logrado y espero que podamos seguir así”.

United Health Foundation llama a mantener el ímpetu

“United Health Foundation tiene el compromiso de seguir identificando estrategias para mejorar la salud estatal de forma mensurable y significativa”, comentó la Dra. Rhonda Randall, asesora sénior de United Health Foundation y jefa médica de UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions. “Espero que pronto podamos festejar las mejoras año tras año en la obesidad, y espero ver que el porcentaje de fumadores del país siga en descenso”.

“Quienes dedicamos nuestras carreras profesionales a la salud pública sabemos que no podemos mejorar lo que no podemos medir”, explicó el Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, presidente de Partnership for Prevention. “El informe America’s Health Rankings y las herramientas en línea nos muestran en qué aspectos hemos hecho grandes avances en la misión de promover una mejor salud y, lo más importante, en qué áreas nos queda trabajo por hacer”.

El informe America’s Health Rankings y sus herramientas —incluido el análisis no sólo de las poblaciones estatales, sino también de las subpoblaciones dentro de los estados— están diseñados para identificar oportunidades de salud en las comunidades así como enfoques multidisciplinarios y de múltiples colaboradores para aprovechar dichas oportunidades. A través de sus programas y subvenciones, United Health Foundation pone la mira en la salud de los Estados Unidos y, a su vez, promueve soluciones basadas en evidencia. Como parte de este compromiso, United Health Foundation se ha asociado con la Association of State and Territorial Health Officials y la National Business Coalition on Health para crear laboratorios de aprendizaje que identifiquen y promuevan las mejores prácticas e innovaciones en salud pública. Para conocer mejor America’s Health Rankings y para obtener información sobre cómo ayudar a mejorar la salud de la comunidad, visite www.americashealthrankings.org.

Acerca de America’s Health Rankings®

America’s Health Rankings es la evaluación integral anual de la salud del país estado por estado. Este informe es publicado conjuntamente por United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association y Partnership for Prevention.

Los datos del informe provienen de fuentes externas muy reconocidas, como los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC), la Asociación Médica Estadounidense (AMA), el FBI, el Proyecto Dartmouth Atlas, el Departamento de Educación y la Oficina del Censo de los Estados Unidos. El informe es revisado y supervisado por un Comité Asesor de Científicos, con miembros de destacadas instituciones académicas, agencias del gobierno y del sector privado.

America’s Health Rankings es el informe de mayor trayectoria de su tipo. Durante 24 años, el informe ha brindado un análisis de la salud nacional estado por estado al evaluar un conjunto de datos socioeconómicos, ambientales y de salud históricos e integrales para determinar puntos de referencia de salud nacionales y clasificaciones estatales. Además, emplea una metodología única, desarrollada y revisada anualmente por un Comité Asesor de Científicos integrado por académicos reconocidos de salud pública. Para obtener más información, visite www.americashealthrankings.org.

Acerca de United Health Foundation

Guiada por la pasión de ayudar a que las personas lleven vidas más saludables, United Health Foundation proporciona información útil para respaldar decisiones que lleven a mejores resultados de salud y comunidades más saludables. La Fundación también apoya actividades que amplían el acceso a los servicios de atención de la salud de calidad para quienes atraviesan situaciones difíciles y se asocia con otros para mejorar el bienestar de las comunidades. Desde que fue creada por UnitedHealth Group [NYSE: UNH] en 1999 como fundación privada sin fines de lucro, la Fundación ha invertido más de $210 millones para mejorar la salud y la atención de la salud. Para obtener más información, visite www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.

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Filed under salud hispana america's health rankings united health foundation

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Balsera Communications Named Finalist for PRWeek Awards 2014

Agency shortlisted for Multicultural Campaign of the Year

By Balsera Communications

MIAMI, Florida - December 5, 2013Balsera Communications, a leading U.S. Hispanic public affairs agency, has been named a finalist for PRWeek’s Multicultural Campaign of the Year by PRWeek for its innovative work with the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance (NHLA). The winners will be announced March 20, 2014 during the 15th annual PRWeek Awards in New York City.

This nomination gives credence to the exceptional work that Balsera Communications has come to be known for – mobilizing and empowering Hispanic audiences while simultaneously engaging policy makers and industry leaders.

“We are extremely pleased to be nominated as a finalist for this award,” said Balsera Communications President David Duckenfield. “At Balsera we pride ourselves on developing out-of-the-box ideas that translate into compelling campaigns.”

Since 1999, Balsera Communications has developed a reputation for being a forward-thinking agency that understands the multifaceted nature of the Hispanic market and its needs. Balsera has led Hispanic communications efforts for Fortune 100 companies and non-profits including UnitedHealthcare, Catholic Relief Services, the National Museum of the American Latino Commission, Obama 2008, and Vme Television, among others.

The PRWeek Awards recognize the best corporate, nonprofit, agency and education teams, and the work they produce. The awards will be handed out at the 2013 ceremony and will be determined by a panel of judges consisting of senior professionals from across agency, corporate, nonprofit, education and government ranks. For a complete list of the finalists, click here.

About Balsera Communications

Balsera Communications is an award-winning, boutique public affairs and public relations agency with expertise in U.S. Hispanic issues and messaging. Its team of experts provides full-service strategic communications to clients in the U.S. and around the world who are targeting the fast growing and dynamic U.S. Hispanic market. Their clients hail from a broad range of industries including Fortune 100 companies, non-profits, elected officials and government entities. Balsera Communications is based in Miami, Florida.

Filed under landscape publicpolicy Latino empowerment advocacy innovation

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By NBC Latino

In an excerpt from an exclusive Vme interview, former Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton speaks to Vme’s Marian de la Fuente. Among the issues discussed was his agency’s 2010 directive urging prosecutorial discretion on deportations, as well as his view of whether immigration reform will take place. “I would say it’s 50-50,” he said, adding it’s the best chance he has seen in a long time.  Morton said the agency was shifting its resources on deportations of recent border crossers or those with criminal convictions.  ”There is no way ICE can remove 11 million people – this is impossible.”

Filed under latino immigration Inmigración VMeTV ICE reform reforma

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Vme Television and ASPIRA Announce Partnership to Improve the Educational Development of U.S. Hispanics

 

Programs will focus on youth, finance, business

development, health, and student retention

 

By Balsera Communications

 

MIAMI, Florida (August 15, 2013) Vme TV, the country’s first and only Spanish-language public network station, and ASPIRA, the nation’s leader in the educational development of Hispanic youth, announced today that they have joined forces to enhance Spanish-language educational programming in the United States. As part of this partnership, the organizations will work together to design, develop, and produce the content that will be broadcast on Vme Television and cross promoted by both organizations.

 

The strategic alliance will allow ASPIRA and Vme to create programming for the Vme and Vme Kids television channels to elevate the educational development of Latino students and provide parents with resources to support their child’s educational future and improve their household finances in anticipation of higher education costs.

 

“Vme is proud of its historical role as the nation’s Spanish public television network and its long-standing commitment of providing entertaining educational programming to the emerging U.S. Hispanic audience,” said Eligio Cedeño, CEO of Vme Television. “While Latino graduation rates in the U.S. are at an all-time high, we as a community have much more to achieve.  A partnership with ASPIRA is ideal for Vme and one that we are very proud of entering.”

 

As leaders in educating and empowering the U.S. Hispanic population, ASPIRA and Vme TV seek to provide this growing demographic with the tools needed to have successful youth development, improve parent and family engagement with child education, increase literacy about entrepreneurship, business planning and finances, and encourage the retention of Latino students in schools.

 

“ASPIRA is very proud to join forces with Vme to reach thousands of Latino young people and families through high quality educational programming based on ASPIRA’s highly successful programs,” said ASPIRA CEO Ronald Blackburn-Moreno. “We are very thrilled about the opportunities this partnership provides both organizations to attain our mission of ensuring the success of our youth and of our community. We look forward to a strong, lasting and productive relationship with Vme.”

 

According to a recent study released by the Pew Hispanic Research Center, the Hispanic high school dropout rate is at an all-time low while Hispanic college enrollment is higher than ever, even surpassing that of whites. Nevertheless, Hispanics continue to fall behind when it comes to other higher education measures, including being less likely to be enrolled in college full time or to complete a Bachelor’s degree.

 

“We believe that by providing educational tools on Vme’s nationwide television platform, we will dramatically increase our outreach efforts and secure our future with a highly educated Latino community in the United States,” said Cedeño.

 

Under the partnership, Vme and ASPIRA will focus on designing and producing programs for television broadcasts and their digital platforms that will focus on:

 

·       Educational financing

·       Adult continuing education

·       Health and nutrition advice

·       Stay in school initiatives

·       Financial education

·       Entrepreneurship, business planning and development

·       Utilization of federal, state, and local grants and support opportunities for financial independence and small businesses 

·       Personal finances, management, and planning

 

     The organizations will design and develop these programs and, in conjunction with sponsors, will be produced for broadcast during the 2014 Vme broadcast year.

 

 

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ABOUT VME TELEVISION

Vme (pronounced veh-meh), is the first national Spanish-language television network presented by public television stations. The 24-hour digital broadcast service is dedicated to entertain, educate and inspire families in Spanish with a contemporary mix of original productions, exclusive premieres, acquisitions, and popular public television programs specially adapted for American Latinos. Vme provides a clear programming alternative to mainstream Spanish-language media, and a unique uncluttered environment for corporations and organizations looking to connect with the national Hispanic community through sophisticated TV and web content, educational programs, and grassroots events.

 

ABOUT THE ASPIRA ASSOCIATION

The ASPIRA Association is the largest national Latino organization in the country and the only one dedicated exclusively to the education of Latin youth. Founded in 1961, ASPIRA’s core program has been the ASPIRA Leadership Clubs in schools. In addition, ASPIRA provides a host of after-school programs including tutoring, mentoring, math and science enrichment programs, financial literacy, parental engagement and access and training in technology. Over the past ten years, ASPIRA has operated charter schools across the country and now has over 7,500 students in nine elementary, middle and high school charter schools. Over the past four decades, ASPIRA has been recognized as a leader in the education of Latino youth. Almost every Latino leader in government, business and the community in the states served by ASPIRA have been Aspirantes or have been affiliated with ASPIRA. At the national level, ASPIRA is a major voice and advocate for the education of Latino youth.

Filed under television communications publicrelations latino education finance partnership

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El Regreso al Colegio y las Vacunas: Inmunizarse No Es Un Privilegio

By Balsera Communications

Aprovechando que los niños estaránregresandopronto al colegio, agosto es el mes ideal para promover la vacunación y recordar lo importante que es mantenerse al día con su salud. Por esta razón, este mesha sido designado como el Mes Nacional del Reconocimiento de la Inmunización (NIAM, por sus siglas en inglés).Se puede hacermucho para prevenir las enfermedades infecciosas antes de que sus hijos regresen a las aulas y existen opciones para cada presupuesto.

Bajos records de inmunización en Estados Unidos          

De acuerdo a los Centros de Control y Prevención de Enfermedades  (CDC), los índices de inmunización de los niños en EEUU se mantienen por encima del 90 por ciento, pero en algunos lugares del país esta cifra ha ido disminuyendo por casi una década. Gracias a las vacunasmuchas enfermedades infantiles ya no son comunes. Sin embargo, los gérmenes que causan la mayoría de estas enfermedades no han desaparecido.

Los cientos de niños que no reciben la protección adecuada a esta edad contribuyen a los 60,000 adultos americanos que mueren anualmente por causa de enfermedades prevenibles. Por ejemplo, de acuerdo a los CDC, entre 3,000 y 49,000 personas mueren cada año por cause de la gripe desde el 1976 hasta el 2007. En lo que va del 2013, la influenza ha cobrado la vida de 29 niños alrededor del país.

Los hispanos se quedan atrás

Esta tendencia  noes igual para todo el mundo, sino que existen disparidades de acuerdo al grupo racial y el nivel socioeconómico de la población. Diversos reportes por la Oficina de Salud de las Minorías (OMH) indican que los hispanos reciben un menor número de vacunas que los blancos no hispanos.

Para los latinos, la inmunización es especialmente importante porque este grupo está más propenso a sufrir de condiciones pre-existentes como la diabetes, obesidad y enfermedades cardiovasculares que pueden empeorar otros males prevenibles como la gripe, infecciones de pulmón o de garganta.

Sin embargo, pareciera existir una relación entre las disparidades raciales y los recursos culturales y socioeconómicos de esta población. “Las razones por las que los latinos podríamos estar menos inclinados a vacunarnos tienen mucho que ver con que un gran número de hispanos enfrenta las barreras del lenguaje y tienen menos acceso al sistema de salud”, dijo el Dr. Roberto Madrid, Director Médico de UnitedHealthcare. “Otras razones pueden responder a la desinformación sobre los beneficios de las vacunas o simplemente a un desconocimiento de las  medidas preventivas.”

La inmunización y personas de la tercera edad

Es un mito común que la inmunización es importante sólo en las primeras etapas de la vida. De hecho, la mayoría de enfermedades prevenibles por vacuna ocurren entre los adultos en EEUU. Mantenerse al día con su salud requiere que las personas mayores también se vacunen, ya que son otra población con récords de baja inmunización.

De acuerdo a un reporte que salió a la luz este año enfocado en las personas de tercera edad, el America’sHealth Rankings SeniorReport, menos de la mitad de los adultos mayores de 65 años en EEUU están al día con un conjunto básico de servicios médicos preventivos como la vacunación y detección del cáncer.Entre las vacunas que recomienda el Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos para la personas mayores están las de influenza, herpes, tétano, tos ferina y neumonía. 

El reto para los hispanos

Uno de los impedimentos para que las  minorías obtengan las vacunas necesarias para proteger a sus familias  es el costo.  Afortunadamente, existen recursos que ofrecen los servicios médicos necesarios libres de precio para las personas sin seguro o con seguros que no cubren ciertas vacunas. Uno de estos recursos es el Programa de Vacunación para Niños (VFC). En esta página puede encontrar información acerca de a dónde puede llevar a sus hijos a vacunarse este verano sin ningún costo y verificar que el médico que le atienda sea certificado: http://www.cdc.gov/spanish/especialesCDC/ProgramaVacunas/

¡Después de todo, un poco de prevención  vale más que un gran arrepentimiento!

Filed under latino health UnitedHealthcare inmunización vacunas

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Vme Television Names Balsera Communications Agency of Record

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By Hispanic PR Blog

 

Balsera Communications has been named the agency of record by Vme Television, the first national Spanish-language public television network in the United States. Balsera will be leading public relations and public affairs strategies for Vme in the United States.

Balsera is known for its award winning campaigns for engaging the U.S. Hispanic market and has worked with a vast range of clients including NCLR, the UnitedHealth Foundation, the National Museum American Latino Commission (NMALC) and the Hispanic messaging for the Obama 2008 campaign. Additionally, the agency’s Managing Partner (Freddy Balsera) and President (David Duckenfield), served as surrogates for Spanish language media during the Obama 2012 campaign.

“Over the past ten years the U.S. Hispanic demographic has not only grown in numbers, but it has also become more sophisticated,” said President and Partner, David Duckenfield, Balsera Communications. “We believe Vme is uniquely positioned to provide this new, up and coming Hispanic market the unique and educational programming that it is craving while also catering to the bilingual lifestyle that they are now embracing.”

“We have never been more aggressive in our endeavors to enhance the value of Hispanics in professions and academia through our programming” said Eligio Cedeño, one of the new owners of Vme Media, Inc. “Our alliance with Balsera Communications is yet another example of how are working to strategically amplify our audience while maintaining the direction of the network.”

Currently, Vme is the fourth largest Spanish-language network in the U.S. and reaches over 75 percent of all U.S. Hispanic homes. It is the only Spanish language network that focuses on providing this growing demographic with thoughtful and educational, yet entertaining programming that enriches families and helps to improve their lives.

Filed under Latino agency publicrelations

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S.A.’s collective girth getting smaller

By Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje

The adult obesity rate in San Antonio and Bexar County dropped from 35.1 percent to 28.5 percent from 2010 to 2012, which means around 70,000 residents no longer qualify as obese, according to Metro Health.

Mayor Julián Castro announced the results Wednesday of a survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and said San Antonio is now fitter than most of Texas, which has an adult obesity rate of 29.3 percent.

“People are getting more active and living healthier in San Antonio, whether it’s walking, cycling or using our parks,” Castro said at a basketball court in Collins Gardens Park, nestled in a Southwest Side neighborhood.

“We now have concrete evidence that our investments are paying off and positively impacting the health of our families and the overall quality of life in San Antonio,” he said.

The obesity rate was derived from a CDC telephone survey of 1,500 city and county residents.

According to Metro Health, the percentage of local people who are overweight, though not obese, increased from 34 percent in 2010 to 36 percent two years later, bringing the combined obese and overweight total to 65 percent.

Castro credited the drop in the obesity rate to a host of community partners that banded together two years ago to deploy a $15.6 million federal obesity prevention grant awarded to Metro Health, the city’s health department.

The wide-ranging collaborative includes city agencies and local schools and community-led efforts like bicycle programs and healthy-eating initiatives sponsored by local restaurants, as well as groups like the YMCA, which puts on Siclovia, when Broadway is closed to traffic and open for recreation.

Dr. Thomas Schlenker, head of Metro Health, said the survey found the greatest improvement among middle-class Hispanics who have some education beyond high school.

Together, Hispanics and African-Americans in San Antonio saw their adult obesity rate shrink from 40 percent to 29 percent. There was no significant change either way in the white population, he noted.

“Hispanics and blacks are particularly at risk of being obese, and there’s been this sense of fatalism that it can never change,” he said. “People say, ‘Maybe it’s a cultural thing, or a genetic difference.’ That’s not the case, and this study shows that.”

The only cluster that showed no progress involved those over 65; that rate went up from 31.1 percent to 34.7 percent.

“Perhaps we’ve not paid enough attention” to seniors, he said.

Castro pointed to Cesar Canizalez, 17, as a role model for change. During his freshman year at Churchill High School, Canizalez struggled to keep up with the marching band because of his excess weight.

So he got motivated and shed 60 pounds over two years.

Now a junior, Canizalez told the assembled group about the pride he felt when he received a “Healthy Hero” award from his school last year.

Castro and others acknowledged that the key will be sustaining the improvement and building on it.

Residents are “still at risk of all the things that drag down the quality of life, like diabetes and stroke,” Castro said. “But this drop means more people are leading a healthier lifestyle, and more San Antonians have the opportunity to live out their golden years with a great quality of life.”

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NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATES WOO LATINO VOTERS

From the AP - Claudia Torrens

Hispanics could make up nearly a quarter of potential voters in the city’s mayoral election, and polls suggest their vote is still very much up for grabs.

"This is the great X-factor in this election," said Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio, among the candidates who have been making frequent forays into Latino neighborhoods, shaking hands with voters and often greeting them in Spanish.

"This is a community that is politically independent in the sense of being open minded, and a big, big piece of the vote," de Blasio said. "And we are making it very central to our strategy."

The latest poll that tracked Latino voters found them virtually split between two Democratic candidates, with 20 percent saying they would vote for former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner and 19 percent for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. De Blasio followed with 12 percent.

That NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll was taken last week after the latest sexting scandal involving Weiner. Another post-scandal poll, a Quinnipiac University survey that didn’t break out Hispanics, had Quinn on top and Weiner falling to fourth place among Democrats.

Of the city’s 2.4 million Latinos, half are citizens over 18, according to 2011 U.S. Census data. While the city’s elections board does not track voter registrations by ethnicity, Hispanics are expected to have a significant impact on the November election.

"Even though many people are not eligible to vote because they are not citizens, or they are younger or poor and they do not get involved, the Latino community is so big in the city that even with all these obstacles that exclude Latinos from the electorate, Latinos represent a big bloc of voters," said Angelo Falcon, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy.

In the last mayoral election in 2009, former comptroller and current candidate Bill Thompson won the biggest share of the Latino vote — 55 percent, according to exit polls by Edison Research. Yet that was not enough to beat Michael Bloomberg, who received 43 percent of the Latino vote. Latinos made up about one-fifth of the electorate that year.

Candidates this year are frequently seen at events targeted to Latinos. Some attended the National Puerto Rican Day Parade that every June runs along Fifth Avenue. And some rushed to the podium to speak during a ceremony in May to name a portion of Broadway as Juan Rodriguez Way, in honor of a Dominican man who is thought to have been New York’s first non-Indian settler.

Other candidates walk every week in Latino areas of Queens and the Bronx to greet voters. Some have met in private with the Hispanic Federation, an umbrella organization for Latino nonprofit agencies. And most were forced to reveal whether they eat “cuchifritos,” Puerto Rican fried foods, during a recent debate.

Candidates also are publicizing their stances on issues that concern Latinos. Quinn has published a booklet, Nueva York 2014, which lists her accomplishments as City Council speaker and explains her positions on issues. She also uses the literature to propose that bus and trains announcements also be made in Spanish and that a scholarship be created for bilingual students who provide translation services for the city.

De Blasio, the city’s public advocate, speaks Spanish and has proposed a universal city identification card for residents, including immigrants who live illegally in the U.S. He also has proposed allowing immigrants living illegally to apply for a driver’s license.

Weiner, who resigned from Congress two years ago after a sexting scandal that resurfaced last week, has proposed a city health care system similar to Medicare that would include immigrants excluded from federal coverage.

Two Latinos are among more than a dozen candidates in the race. Erick Salgado is running as a Democrat, and Adolfo Carrion is running as an Independent. Carrion, a former Bronx borough president, is more well-known, but his campaign has picked up little traction. He said his Puerto Rican ancestry will help him attract Latino voters.

"Any Latino has an advantage with the Latino community simply because they become a rallying point for their dreams and aspirations," Carrion said.

Jorge Ayala, owner of La Fonda restaurant in Spanish Harlem, follows the campaign. He said he personally knows two of the candidates — Thompson and Carrion — but hasn’t decided who gets his vote.

Victor Hernandez isn’t fazed by the attention from candidates. He doesn’t plan to vote — a tradition he started after casting his last ballot, for John Kennedy for president.

"There are too many candidates for mayor now. … How many are there? Ten?" asked Hernandez, who is 70.

Lucia Gomez, who has been going through neighborhoods registering Latinos to vote, said candidates have made a lot of promises to Latinos. Voters should hold them accountable once they’re in office, said Gomez, executive director of the nonprofit organization La Fuente, a group that works on immigrant and worker rights issues.

"I think we will see then if Latinos really have the power to accomplish something," she said.

Filed under Latino Election NY

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Latina Bloggers Launch Program To Fight ‘Summer Slide’ With Reading Contests

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By Meleena Loseke

Reading typically isn’t at the top of a kid’s summer to-do list, but one organization is trying to push against the literate-lazy summer wave.

Latinas For Latino Literature, an online initiative conceived by four Latina bloggers to promote Hispanic authors, has partnered with Google to create fun and engaging summer reading programs for people of all ages. The titles in the book list are mostly in English, but include some bilingual choices as well.

They created three different programs, for three different types of audiences: kids, young adults and reading groups. The program involves a contest, with projects and prizes for each audience.

The L4LL, as it is also called, was designed for kids ages 0-18 but with the whole family in mind. Children are encouraged to read a total of eight books and write reports throughout the 10 weeks of the program. “Parents are involved every step of the way,” said L4LL co-founder Viviana Hurtado. Involvement ranges from reading to babies, taking a ‘reading pledge’ and monitoring daily reading logs for the little ones.

“Technology allows us to take our content, to take our mission and magnify it.”

- Viviana Hurtado, Co-founder of L4LL

“When parents are involved by modeling and participating,” Hurtado said, “it maximizes the opportunity for educational success.”

L4LL has provided a recommended reading list, but Hurtado said that it is simply that: recommended. Children can read whatever they want to read, but the list is there to provide motivation. The list is divided by age as well as reading level.

 “My hope of course is that you get them reading, I don’t know, House on Mango Street today,” Hurtado said, “and tomorrow, you spark a love of reading, and they’re going to be hungry to read whatever they can get their hands on, whether it’s Shakespeare, whether it’s The Iliad or whether it’s Cervantes. The point is to get kids reading.”

The main purpose of the reading list, however, is to promote U.S.-Latino literature ― it is comprised 100 percent of works by U.S.-Latino authors. L4LL addresses the lack of this type of literature within the Latino community in order to create a better reading and learning experience for Latino children. According to Hurtado and a number of experts, when children see themselves in books, it creates a better connection and reading experience.

“We also know that during the summer, some kids obviously want to take a break from studying,” Hurtado said. “So how do you respect the rest that they need – the break that they need and want – but also keep them reading and learning so that you don’t hit what’s called the ‘summer slide.’”

Almost 500 families from the United States, a couple Latin American countries and even Germany have signed up for the little kids program and the number is growing, Hurtado said. 

Officially, families have until the day before the contest ends on August 12 to register, but in order to compete for the prize packs, backpacks stuffed with school necessities, families must register by July 4. The first 100 families to have read the eight books and done the book reports by August 12 will be eligible to win the prize packs.

Alternatively, the L4LL Young Adult Challenge is designed for kids ages 12-18. They also have to read eight books by August 12, but they are also given the task of doing a video book report. They are competing to win one of 20 tablets, seven of which are chromebooks.

The last division of competition is the L4LL Latino Children Summer Reading Program Group Challenge. The group challenge, explains Hurtado, was created to address the library book clubs and summer reading programs all across the country that wanted to join L4LL in summer challenges. 

They are competing to meet and chat with a famous Latina author/illustrator via a Google Hangout. Younger kids ages 4-8 will get a chance to talk with Puerto Rican award-winning author and illustrator Lulu Delacre, and older kids could chat with Margarita Engle, an award-winning Latina poet.

L4LL was founded in December 2012 in response to an article published by The New York Times that described the lack of Latino characters in children’s books.

The summer reading programs come on the heels of a few other initiatives since L4LL’s inception only half a year ago, which Hurtado described as “wildly successful.” They have hosted a couple of Twitter parties with Las Comadres and Junot Diaz, as well as a “Dia Blog Hop,” for which L4LL featured 20 Latina authors on 20 Latina blogs over the course of 20 days.

What sets L4LL’s reading programs apart from other summer reading initiatives are the facts that they involve the entire family, it’s nationwide, and everything is online. According to Hurtado, it is the “first ever online nationwide Latino children’s summer reading program.”

Technology is involved in almost all aspects of L4LL’s summer reading programs. Registration is online, families receive email newsletters, young adults must create video book reports, and computer tablets are offered as prizes.

“Technology is so important for L4LL,” Hurtado said, “because that’s where we are as bloggers and how we found each other as bloggers, but also because that’s where our community is.”

In order to better connect the old-fashioned literature with new, innovative technology and make reading a more fun experience, Hurtado said that it was a “no-brainer” to reach out to Google. The web search engine has hosted Google Hangouts for L4LL and will also provide some of the titles on the recommended reading lists as e-books. A YouTube channel is also being developed as an additional way to connect with their audience.

“Technology allows us to take our content, to take our mission and magnify it,” Hurtado said. “There’s just a lot of really terrific platforms that Google has that completely, organically, seamlessly syncs with us and gives us an opportunity to reach people even more.”

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