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La Liga de Las Americas

‘South Broadway Five’ dominates alliance of groups, unveiling ambitious agenda for Latino community unity


By Alan Abrams
La Prensa Senior Correspondent


June 8, 2006: A coalition of eight predominately South End-based community organizations unveiled a plan last Thursday calling for a community-wide agenda to increase the clout of Toledo Latinos.


Gabriel Najera of MdevGroup, LLP, Chicago,converses with Dr. Manuel Caro—Alan Abrams Photo.

The coalition is dominated by the ‘South Broadway Five’—organizations whose headquarters are either located on South Broadway or closely adjacent to the South End barrio’s main commercial street, with zip code “43609.”  


The groups comprising the Hispanic/Latino Strategic Alliance of Greater Toledo (The “G” in “Greater” is dropped from the coalition’s acronym of HLSAT) are: Adelante, Inc., the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), the Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center, the Aurora González Community & Family Resource Center, the Viva South Community Development Corporation, the Northwest Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The Twelve Inc. of Ohio, and the Hispanic Affairs Commission of Toledo (HAC).


The report was commissioned by the HAC which is an agency of the City of Toledo.  The alliance plans to acquire non-profit (501)(c)(3) status.


The Twelve Inc. of Ohio is the fiscal agent for the collaborative—its director of special projects is Bob Vásquez, a HAC Commissioner and an At-Large candidate for Toledo City Council.


Although the $25,000 funding for the group’s two-year community study was provided by the United Way of Greater Toledo, the Stranahan Foundation, and the Toledo Community Foundation, the alliance, according to a report released by HLSAT, does not include representation by any East Side or North Side-based community organization.


Majority of Toledo Latinos do not live in HLSAT survey area

 A recent survey utilized by the Buckeye CableSystem for an analysis to determine what additional Spanish-language programs needed to be added for their cable viewers—including the addition of Univisión—showed a greater proportion of Latinos living on the East Side than on the South Side, with a significant number also residing in the North Side.

Publisher Celso Rodríguez listens to Commissioner Bob Vásquez concerning HLSAT—Alan Abrams Photo.

Florence M. Buchanan, Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Buckeye Cable System, and Anna M. Ponce, Marketing MDU Coordinator for Buckeye CableSystem, recently met with various community members, including HAC director Robert Torres, at La Preciosa Restaurant on South Broadway (across from FLOC) and furnished a recent NBC report indicating that approximately one-third of Latinos lived in the South End zip code of 43609, with over fifty percent of Toledo Latinos living in the East and North Sides. 


At the news conference held June 8 at the Radisson Hotel, HAC Chair David Ibarra and Vásquez explained that the new Latino consortium was the initial step in developing a public policy agenda for local Latinos.


According to this published report which appeared prior to the news conference, Vásquez said the survey was conducted online and through focus group meetings held around the city. 


The 41-page report identifies the locations of the focus groups as: Adelante, Inc.,  FLOC, Saints Peter and Paul Church, the Mayores Senior Center, and the University of Toledo Latino Student Union, all, with the exception of the latter, located on the South End.


Asked about the wisdom of using an online survey as a means for contacting members of the Latino community, Vásquez acknowledged Monday that many members of the community do not own computers.


Vásquez also recognized this reporter’s concerns about too great an emphasis having been placed upon residents of the South End in terms of participation in the focus groups.


“That point is a very good point in that we have made every attempt to reach out to all parts of the community,” said Vásquez in a telephone interview. He said if there is a problem, the alliance would work to correct it “because it is our intention to be all-inclusive. Just because the report has been released does not mean that we are still not gathering information.  We would welcome comments from anybody.”


Vásquez said he would provide La Prensa with a list of the questions asked in the survey as well as a list of the respondents, the latter being provided on Monday—it illustrated the 43609-zip-code emphasis.


Both Vásquez and Ibarra said some of the responses surprised them, specifically the need for stronger leadership within the Latino community and the lack of understanding of available services.


UT’s Urban Affairs Center

 The University of Toledo’s Urban Affairs Center was an early advisor/partner to the HSLAT. Its input and role can be viewed on line at: http://uac.utoledo.edu/Services/hc-rfp.htm. 


The UT Urban Affairs Center says at its web site that: “The Hispanic Affairs Commission of Toledo in care of the Twelve, Inc. is soliciting proposals for a planning consultant to assist them with the second phase of our strategic planning process. This second phase will focus on developing goals, strategies, and an action/implementation plan.


“The purpose of strategic plan will be to bring together all elements of our area’s Latino/Hispanic population so that we can find ways to take advantage of our collective and individual strengths—and improve our ability to move our community forward in an empowered and engaged way.”


Recommendation for a Latino Advocacy Center

At the news conference, as per the report, the HLSAT recommended creation of a Hispanic/Latino Research Consortia, Public Policy and Advocacy Center to be based in Toledo and a Board of Advisors to oversee the activity. The report also called for developing a training agenda for Latino leaders in the community.


The community survey and report was prepared by Chicago-based consultants MdevGroup, LLP under the direction of Managing Partner Gabriel Najera.


Following the presentation, Najera told La Prensa that the survey showed that “the community felt leadership was missing within the community.”


He said the survey also “identified the customer group” for the HLSAT, reflecting the business-oriented background of Najera’s company whose corporate client list includes Kraft and BP, as well as a number of Chicago-area Latino community organizations.


Najera concluded that the report would not have been possible without the efforts of HAC and the City of Toledo, “especially Louis Escobar, David Ibarra, Robert Vásquez, and Robert Torres.”


HLSAT Contact List  (PDF Format - Adobe Reader Required Click here for free download)





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