After reviewing all home loan data for 2013, 2015 analysis by attorney Christine Wellington of Derry concluded that ethnicity was the only variable besides household income that was consistently a significant predictor of loan denial.
â€œIn short, in 2013, if you were Latino you were significantly less likely to have access to housing financing,â€� the report states. â€œThis is true controlling for applicant gender; type of loan (origination v. refinancing); conventional v. government-backed; loan amount; race; denial reason; and geography.â€�
A report by the Concord Monitor finds that when the study was updated in 2020, Wellington and her associates noted that little had changed: â€œOur 2020 analysis echoes the findings of the 2015 assessment: People of color concentrated in the poorest neighborhoods still face the same obstacles outlined in 2015. By every measure, those neighborhoods faced conditions and access to opportunity far below the state average.â€�
According to the 2020 Census, Hispanics-Latinos comprise 7.6 percent of the population statewide, 21 percent in Manchester, and 23 percent in Nashua.
The Granite State News Collaborative used the HMDA database to analyze the lending patterns of the stateâ€™s top 20 mortgage lenders from 2018 to 2020 and found wide variation in denial rates.
CMG Mortgage, Freedom Mortgage, CrossCountry Mortgage, and Fairway Independent Mortgage all denied Hispanics-Latinos at more than twice the rates they deny whites, while Quicken Loans, HarborOne Mortgage, and Digital FCU had denial rates that were identical or within a few percentage points of each other.Â
GSBC reached out to lenders with high denial rates for Hispanics-Latinos and heard back from several (see sidebar). Fairway spokesperson Alyson Austin offered an answer that was similar to what many others said.
HMDA data is â€œan appropriate first step in this type of inquiry,â€� she wrote in an email, but added, â€œadditional analysis is needed to determine whether factors unrelated to race explain disparities observed in raw HMDA data.â€�
Business owners and local leaders celebrated the opening of 16 new businesses at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield on Tuesday, all Hispanic-Latino-owned.
Borisushi, a self-described Latin-style sushi restaurant, was among the businesses celebrated by the Massachusetts Latino Chamber of Commerce at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and given citations from the Massachusetts Senate.
â€œThe resurgence of theÂ EastfieldÂ MallÂ from Latino and Black-owned businesses sets the tone for transitioningÂ malls, shopping plazas, and downtown storefronts all over Springfield and Massachusetts. The pandemic has only increased the motivation for our community to take the leap and become their own boss as business owners,â€� said Andrew Melendez, Director of the Massachusetts Latino Chamber of Commerce.
In all, there are 22 Hispanic-Latino-owned businesses at the Eastfield Mall. The feat comes amid statistics that show Hispanic-Latino businesses in Massachusetts lag behind the national average.
Hispanics-Latinos and the Black community make up more than a fifth of the state’s population but own just over 3 percent of businesses with employees â€” less than half the national rate of Hispanic-Latino and Black business ownership, according to a U.S. Census survey of entrepreneurs released in 2018.
GBH News reports that if the self-employed are factored in, Hispanic-Latino and Black people own about 9 percent of all businesses in the state, also less than half the national average, according to the Census survey in 2012.
Â Part of the problem is that Hispanic-Latino businesses face higher demands for collateral from lenders and are turned down for loans more often than their white counterparts.
In a December study, the consulting firm McKinseyÂ found thatÂ â€œLatinos have the lowest rate of using bank and financial institution loans to start their businesses compared with other racial and ethnic groups,â€� rely more on personal funds and receive a tiny fraction of the billions of dollars invested each year by venture capital firms.
“I am a first-generation professional, and I’m in the business of people, ‘ says Adriana Dawson in greeting visitors to her Linkedin profile – that is after “Hola, I’m Adriana.”
Dawson is the Community Engagement Director at Verizon. She drives strategy and execution supporting Citizen Verizon â€“ Verizonâ€™s responsible business plan delivering on its mission to move the world forward by addressing pressing societal issues through action.
She is also the host of US Tech Future, a Verizon-led community-focused initiative working to engage the local community in a discussion about technology and how it can improve the lives of local residents for their benefit and the benefit of the community as a whole.
In a recent episode, Dawson interviewed Angela Bannerman Ankoma, Vice President and Executive Director of the Equity Leadership Initiative (ELI) at the Rhode Island Foundation. “I don’t take the work I do lightly,” said Bannerman Ankoma in answering Dawson’s question about her personal journey, and what led her to do the work she leads. “I know there are many people in our community who have similar stories like me. Who, if it wasn’t for initiatives or programs (like the ones supported by the Rhode Island Foundation) wouldn’t be where they are.”
While born and raised in Rhode Island, Dawson’s roots connect to the first Colombians to arrive in the state. Settling in Central Falls, her family assisted new arrivals with housing, employment, and other new world needs. Dawson was featured in the Latino Policy Instituteâ€™s #LatinosInRI series.
“Some of my earliest memories involve acting as a translator for my family and being sourced as a navigator for other newly arrived Spanish-speaking families,” she said. “I quickly learned the power of community, activating as a connector, and using my voice to assist others.”
Dawson said, “As an adult, I chose to leverage these formative experiences + my skills to continue the work on a larger scale to support greater societal impact and action.”
Last August she was named to the Providence Public Library (PPL) board of trustees. “The library is an anchor to so many in the community,” she said in a video message. “Particularly invisible populations, traditionally under-resourced, underserved groups.”
PPL received a $100,000 grant from Verizon to expand its technology-related education initiatives and workforce development opportunities in 2020. The grant, the library announced, would be used to help enhance equitable access to relevant skills needed to be successful in the digital age.
Dawson is also a first-generation professional. She came from hard-working factory workers who worked long days; family dinner conversations never consisted of stories of the office or their industry. Her lived experiences launched her career and have continued to guide her professionally these past 25+ years.
“I thrive at the intersection of social innovation + business development. I help lift the voice of community and systemically overlooked populations through dialogues, engagements, and thought partnerships to honor their history, narrative, and self-identified opportunities,” Dawson said.
LPI and RI Latino News; partners in elevating the visibility and voices of Rhode Islandâ€™s Hispanic-Latino communities.
Is there someone in the community you think we should feature? Send us your ideas to Info@LatinoNewsNetwork.com.
The first time DePaul junior, Ariana Collazo heard of an Afro-Latina individual in school was last year during her Afro Caribbean class when Haitian American novelist Edwidge Danticat came to speak to her class.
â€œListening to her story was really inspiring and Iâ€™ll never forget watching her,â€� said Collazo.
Collazo said she felt connected to the author’s experience of being ostracized and the way classmates treated her differently growing up, coming from a Puerto Rican and African American background.
Collazo said she remembers being teased by elementary school kids when they found out that her mom was African American. “Of course, not speaking Spanish, theyâ€™d always be like â€˜How are you a real Puerto Rican if you canâ€™t even speak Spanish, and your mom is Black?â€� Collazo said.
Although in the U.S 5 percent of the population identifies as Afro-Latino according to 2019 Pew Research, there are around 150 million Afro Latinos in Latin Americaâ€™s 540 million total population according to a CRS Report.
The histories of Afro-Latinas have been largely erased from most educational discourses leaving individuals to learn about it on their own and deal with the repercussions of not seeing themselves represented.
The invisibility of Afro-Latinos in popular discourse and media leads many young individuals to wrestle with the validity of their ethnic identity.
Dr. Jacqueline LazÃº associate dean and professor at Depaul said, â€œNot having your narratives centered in any historical tradition, cultural tradition, that you belong to makes you feel excluded. It makes you feel like youâ€™re not worthy, it makes you feel like your experience and your history and who you are doesnâ€™t matter.â€�
The community also holds colorist ties causing Afro-Latinos to feel that they must favor their Latino instead of their Black roots in order to avoid prejudice, a common occurrence if they have a lighter complexion.
Michelle Bueno Vasquez a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University studying political science and transnational Afro-Latino diaspora, said â€œFor some people, thatâ€™s a difficult thing to reckon with, that youâ€™re going to introduce that difference and expose yourself to racist harm, subconsciously some folks just donâ€™t want to go there, they would rather not identify as Black.â€�
According to a study by the State University of New York at Albany, Latinos who identify themselves as Black have lower-incomes, higher unemployment rates, higher poverty rates, less education, and fewer opportunities than those who identify themselves as â€œWhiteâ€� or â€œotherâ€�.
Bueno Vasquez said the mobilization of Latino political organizations has encouraged many Afro-Latinos to identify themselves with Latinos instead of their Black roots in order to gain more funding from the government.
This tactical behavior leads to minority movement essentialization when minority movements set defining cultural or biological characteristics that are shared by all members to create a unified category that benefits the majority within the minority.
â€œIt leaves people like myself, Afro-Latinos or indigenous Latinos, or Latinos who donâ€™t speak Spanish like Brazilians, Haitians in the dust and doesnâ€™t provide for our safety, our inclusion, and our benefits, and uses funds that essentially we helped them get,â€� said Bueno Vasquez.
Afro-Latinoâ€™s denying their Blackness, â€œIt also means you have to deny parts of yourself and probably encounter a lot of microaggressions in order to be in those spaces,â€� said Bueno Vasquez.
Bueno Vasquez and Collazo were among the many Afro-Latina women that experienced low self-esteem in their youth.
Bueno Vasquez said she recalls around the ages of nine or 10, â€œI would pray to God that I would wake up being lighter and having straighter hair and green eyesâ€� whereas Collazo said she remembers thinking she was ugly.
Bueno Vasquez said educating girls of Afro-Latina histories and seeing them in the media at an early age can be beneficial because it can help bypass the self-hatred and self-effacing period many go through.
Bueno Vasquez advises people to acknowledge the internal racism that everyone has in terms of oneâ€™s appearance and others. She said to question why one may find certain qualities to be attractive because â€œWhen we think of sexual attraction or taste, itâ€™s a lot of times reproduction of learned racist hierarchies and things we think afford privilege.â€�
LazÃº said that the problem lies within the dominant Westernized beauty standards that Latin America and the United States have constructed to purposefully cast a negative image of people with dark complexions.
LazÃº said Afro-Latinas must be â€œwilling to understand and change the ways in which we may ourselves be even unwittingly complicit in reinforcing those beauty standards and systems of oppression. We should demand representation and advocate for the inclusion of Black and Indigenous women in the spaces we see us missing.â€�
For more information on advancing the visibility of Black Latinidad visit the Afro-Latino Forum online.
Cover Graphic by Jocelyn Diaz
â€œJacqueline Cardenas is an undergrad sophomore majoring in journalism with a concentration in Latino Communication at DePaul University. She is a first-generation Mexican-American student and aspires to diversify the news industry. She loves nature and reading in her spare time.Â Twitter: @jackiecardenas_â€�
â€œMy kids were terrified to see the police,â€� testified Nadia Gonzales, a resident of Nashua who immigrated from Mexico. Gonzalez joined advocates in support of H.B. 1463 at a public meeting earlier this month hosted by the Transportation Committee of New Hampshire House of Representatives.
Local immigrantsâ€™ rights organizations in favor ofÂ threeÂ bills primarily sponsoredÂ Rep. George Sykes from Lebanon (D)Â sayÂ H.B. 1463,Â 1666, andÂ 1093Â would make roads safer for all motorists.
â€œA person can be in New Hampshire 100 percent legally but can be waiting for their papers for over a year because of bureaucratic delays,â€� said Sarah Knoy, American Friends Service Committee. â€œA warning became a nightmare for this family. Those children still today are terrified when they see a police officer. She’s back at home now, but the trauma lingers,â€� Knoy testified about an immigrant woman detained by ICE after a speeding ticket.
H.B. 1463 proposes a Real ID type of driverâ€™s license allowing people to travel inside the U.S without a passport.
If approved, H.B. 1666Â would prohibit the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles from sharing personal information with immigration enforcement agencies.
H.B. 1093 would permit nonresidents living in New Hampshire to obtain a 180-day temporary driver’s license while waiting on their asylum status application.
The committee doesnâ€™t have a date to vote yet.
In Massachusetts, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses.
“This is a public safety bill,” said State Rep. Andy Vargas of H.B. 4461. “It’s about making sure we keep all of our communities safe, that we have drivers that are licensed that go through the right process.”
The bill requiresÂ individuals provide documentation to obtain a license including proof of their identity, residency in the state and date of birth. The new rules would apply to those who do not have proof they are in the country legally, including those not eligible for a Social Security number.
The House voted 120-36 in favor of the measure on February 16. The bill still requires approval by the Massachusetts Senate, before heading to Governor Baker.
Undocumented immigrants in 16 other states, including Connecticut and Vermont, are already able to get a driver’s license.
Cover Photo: Ron Lach from Pexels
Publisherâ€™s Note: this story is an aggregate from reports by NHPR and NBC Boston.
Publisher’s Note: Please participate in a short survey at the end of the story. Knowing how this story may have influenced you can help guide our future reporting...Thank you!
â€œPeople feel excluded in not having the knowledge because of the language barrier,â€� said Luis Lorenzo, a resident of Bristol, about what he thinks keeps new Americans like himself from participating in the electoral process. Lorenzo is originally from Mexico.
Lorenzo was featured in Voting System Fails Immigrants, as part of the Advancing Democracy: Connecticut SolutionsÂ Journalism Initiative that CTLatinoNews.com (CTLN) is undertaking as part of eight reporting projects in 10 newsrooms across the United States. The six-monthÂ programÂ is sponsored by theÂ Solutions Journalism NetworkÂ (SJN); its mission is to spread the practice of solutions journalism: rigorous reporting on responses to social problems.
CTLN is exploring solutions to these problems by engaging with thought leaders in Connecticut and drawing from the best practices and lessons learned in communities across the country.
â€œInability to speak or read English cannot be a barrier to the most cherished right of a U.S. citizen, the right to vote,â€� said Arturo Vargas, the executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, in an interview with NBC. Vargas cited the example of Puerto Ricans, the majority of Hispanics-Latinos in Connecticut, who are not required to read or write English if they live in Puerto Rico.
A Puerto Rican who moves to the U.S. mainland and is not proficient in English “is a fully franchised U.S. citizen and must have free and complete access to the ballot,” said Vargas, regardless of language proficiency.
As a way to make voting more accessible, the U.S. Census Bureau notified 10 Connecticut towns and cities last December that they had to provide language assistance for eligible Hispanic-Latino voters whose English skills were deemed inadequate to participate in the electoral process.
This federal mandate emanated from Section 203 of the 1975 revision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and is based on American Community Survey figures. The criteria are a minority language group comprising at least 5 percent or 10,000 members of the eligible voter population.
For 2021, the Census Bureau designated 331 jurisdictions across the United States that must provide bilingual voting assistance compared to 263 in 2016. This list ranges from entire states, such as Florida and California, with large Hispanic and Asian populations, to central Alaskan villages where Yup’ik is a prevalent language.
Ricardo Negron-Almodovar, All Voting is Localâ€™s Florida campaign manager says new language accessibility determinations under Section 203 are hindered by U.S. laws that do not fully remove language barriers in elections. “These disparities in language provisions ultimately have a discriminatory effect on our multiracial democracy, leaving out entire swaths of people,” Negron-Almodovar said. He believes over a million Floridians find themselves at a disadvantage when voting because English isnâ€™t their primary language.
In many cases, compliance has been an ongoing process spanning more than one five-year consent periods. In Connecticut, the Section 203 towns include nine designated in 2016: Bridgeport, East Hartford. Hartford, Meriden, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Waterbury, and Windham. Norwalk was added this time.
Section 203 serves as a double-edged tool in removing the language speed bump inhibiting and complicating Hispanic-Latino voter turnout.
Whether Section 203 compliance can positively increase the number of Hispanics-Latinos going to the polls, Teresa Begnal, Waterbury’s Democratic Register, says “absolutely.” And without these structures, she said, “there would definitely be more confusion.
A primary reason that Congress included minority language provisions in the Voting Rights Act was an awareness that many members of these groups had been effectively excluded from participation in the electoral process.
U.S. Rep. John Larson, whose constituency includes Hartford and East Hartford, sees the provision’s call to action as integral to the current debate about voting rights. He noted these mandates are strengthened in the John R. Lewis Voting Act, which is currently stalled in the Senate.
“We must do everything we can to make voting as accessible as possible,” Larson said. He also suggests that if anyone has any concerns, they should report them to their local election board and the Secretary of the State.
“There are many Hispanic immigrants, including those who are U.S. citizens, who aren’t necessarily comfortable in their English speaking abilities,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, Director of Hispanic Research at the Pew Research Center, in a recent interview with CTLN. “Spanish (information) might help those folks.”
More than 23 million U.S. immigrants were eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election, making up roughly 10 percent of the nationâ€™s overall electorate â€“ both record highs, according to Pew Research Center estimates based on Census Bureau data.
The Census Bureau uses the American Community Survey to determine every five years who is covered rather than every ten years as was the standard in the past. Compliance is required if more than five percent or more than 10,000 voting-age citizens are limited-English proficient.
In Connecticut, the affected jurisdictions include the state’s eight largest cities, the home of many eligible HispanicLatino voters whose English skills are insufficient reside. Citizens whose primary language is Spanish comprise the population requiring assistance in all ten of the affected jurisdictions. However, five years ago, a Native American cluster in Kent was covered.
Nearby Massachusetts had the most communities added to the list, increasing from 12 to 19.
Spanish also is the language of most of the citizens of the three states and many of the 300 towns and counties requiring compliance. Still, Section 203 also applies to Asians, American Indians, and Alaska Native voting-age citizens.
The five percent criteria can represent a low hurdle in cities such as Hartford and Bridgeport. In the latter, one-third of the households are categorized as having Spanish as the primary language.
The U.S. Department of Justice monitors elections as needed to determine whether programs required under the Voting Rights Act are being implemented, although ultimately, local election officials ensure their jurisdiction complies.
In Dallas, where nearly 21,000 citizens of voting age speak Vietnamese, some 400 locations will be outfitted with cell phones that voters can use to access translators in the March primary.
Philadelphia, where more than 24 percent of the city’s citizens are speakers of a non-English language, Spanish being the most common – use voting machines, touted for their ability to accommodate at least 12 languages.
Both good ideas say supporters of grassroots organizations demanding the state make the voting process more accessible to naturalized citizens in Connecticut; the challenge is the financial means in realizing them.
The Connecticut Office of the Secretary of State in meeting federal law requirements will supply the translated materials to the Section 203 towns.
Language assistance includes the bilingual signs posted at a polling place, said Begnal. What a town is required to do can be extensive. For example, New Britain plans to do the following activities according to Rachel Zaniewski, public affairs specialist, Office of Mayor Erin E. Stewart:
1. Individuals choosing to register to vote can register using a registration form in Spanish
2. Voters choosing to vote can cast a ballot that is bilingual.
3. All election materials are printed in both Spanish and English. That includes not only the ballot but instructional posters that not only instruct voters on how to vote but also speak to their rights.
4. All legal notices of elections and polling locations are in English and Spanish.
5. Spanish-speaking poll workers and moderators are hired to help with elections.
In Waterbury, all letters and other written materials are in English and Spanish, and there is someone bilingual at each polling local, Begnal said. She has reached out to the local Spanish Coalition for help at the polls. Or, on occasion at the office, the English-speaking official has gone across the hall to a Spanish program for a translator.
Whether or not assistance in Spanish language will increase the number of Hispanic-Latino voters at the polls at this year’s midterm election and in the 2024 presidential election is yet to be seen, but new voters like Lorenzo are optimistic.
â€œNow, with me becoming a citizen, it gave me the opportunity to contribute, to have a voice â€“ not only for me but other people,” said Lorenzo.
With the dramatic growth in the U.S. population, the number of Hispanic-Latino-owned businesses is growing faster than in other ethnic groups.
Carl Palme is a high-tech entrepreneur in Boston with a problem: Heâ€™s finding it hard to find investors to back his start-up.
And part of the reason, he says, is his ethnicity.
â€œIâ€™m a Mexican immigrant,â€� he told GBH News on a recent morning in his Fort Point office, which is also his production facility. â€œI donâ€™t have any high school buddies here. I donâ€™t have any kids that I went to primary school [with]. You know, I donâ€™t know their parents; I donâ€™t have these networks where people can just trust me.â€�
In a December study, the consulting firm McKinsey found that â€œLatinos have the lowest rate of using bank and financial institution loans to start their businesses compared with other racial and ethnic groups,â€� rely more on personal funds and receive a tiny fraction of the billions of dollars invested each year by venture capital firms.
Massachusettsâ€™ climate for Latino businesses is even worse than other states. GBH News reported last year that Black and Latino people now make up more than a fifth of the stateâ€™s population but own just over 3% of businesses with employees â€” less than half the national rate of Black and Latino business ownership.
Art is more human than even science. It has been a constant form of expression since before written language appeared. The first sample of writing was created about 5,500 years ago, while the first cave painting was created 40,000 years ago.
Art is part of humanity. It is a seed that as humans we plant so that in the future we can see its fruits. As the popular phrase goes, “they wanted to bury us but they didn’t know we were seeds.”
So it makes perfect sense that we continue to use art to see the change in the world around us. It is an excellent tool to communicate beyond what other mediums allow us to.
Activism and art have been excellent allies throughout history â€” from music that protests against discrimination to paintings that reflect the horrors of war that powerful leaders have tried to make invisible.
William Guerrero also known as “The Kid From Pilsen”, a local artist, activist, and photographer in the predominantly Mexican neighborhood describes art to be a reflection of the present. But also a form to connect with the community.
For him, art is the way to give your point of view, share your story, and encourage others to do it while they can. It is clear to him that one of the characteristics that make art an inclusive medium is that “anyone can do it.”
Chris Cervantes, a digital artist from the South Side, believes that “digital art democratizes participation.”
Cervantes started with digital art because he wanted to create, but he didn’t necessarily have a canvas or paint resources to start.
He emphasizes the importance of creating a narrative within the art. “Be part of the conversation,” Cervantes said.Â
In the face of the message you want to give, he advises you to “say it loudly and honestly”. His message through art is to not worry too much about being correct, but instead, continue to create and participate.
So then, art and activism are very similar, right? The act of doing and acting is what contains the greatest value.
That’s how Frillz, a muralist and illustrator, also thinks about it.
As a child, Frillz would ride his bike through the streets of Logan Square, see the art on the streets, and think: â€œI could do it too.â€�
“I want my art to inspire others to create as well,” Frillz said.
That’s another factor that art and activism have in common: They’re contagious. â€œArt is a great way of communicating messagesâ€� and for this reason â€œthe possibilities are endless,â€� Frillz added.
Milton Coronado, renowned muralist and activist, comments that art can serve as a “call to action” for a community.
Coronado is a muralist and a public speaker. Through his art, his goal is to embody hope.
For Coronado, his murals have a â€œstrong connection to Latin American culture.” His paintings range from Vincente Fernandez to Vanessa Guillen.
His messages place special emphasis on seeking conflict resolution without using violence. His art, for him, helps him to “share his experience”, “to send a message to demand change” and to create “opportunities for dialogue” between groups with different positions and perspectives.
Coronado said he desires his art will serve as a long-term plan for change, seeking to “influence future generations.” In all honesty, I think it is being achieved.
My central question from the beginning of this piece was â€œis art a good medium for activism?â€� and it is clear that it is one of the best.
Not only because of its accessibility but also because of its ability to send messages that tend to be sometimes even more powerful than words.
The roles of murals, photos, illustrations, digital art, and many other types of art have the power to promote change. This is the interpretation that I give to Emma Goldman’s famous phrase â€œIf I can’t dance, your revolution doesn’t interest meâ€�: The revolution can be successful or unsuccessful, but it is art and culture that keep the fight alive.
Cover Photo: Artist Milton Coronado commemorated Marlen Ochoa Lopez, a young mother murdered in Chicago, with a mural in Pilsen. Credit:Â Milton Coronado.
“My vision is of a Rhode Island that rose its economy in a way that is more equitable and just because more people are engaged in making our state better,” said Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea. Gorbea spoke about what she hopes to accomplish as governor as she has as Secretary of State on the Latino News Network podcast, “3 Questions Withâ€¦”.
Secretary Gorbeais the first Latina to run for governor in New England. If she wins, she would also be the first Puerto Rican governor on the mainland. Gorbea is no stranger to making history in public office. In 2015, she was sworn in as Secretary of State, becoming the first Hispanic-Latina to hold statewide office in New England – a position she was re-elected to in 2018.
“We made government work for people,” said Gorbea in describing the work she is most proud of during her tenure as Secretary of State. The list includes:
New voting machines and electronic poll books
Re-building the state’s election management database
Upgrading election cybersecurity
She also led bills to improve the state’s lobbying system and created automated voter registration.
Rhode Island is home to 180,000+ Hispanics-Latinos, making up approximately 18-percent of the stateâ€™s total population.
Gorbea was born and raised in Puerto Rico; moved to Rhode Island in the mid-1990’s. She says that her ethnicity is a piece of the stateâ€™s immigrant history, and that it has shaped her approach to leadership.
Secretary Gorbea was also part of a group of Latino activists who began developing the communityâ€™s political power, through the Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee and the Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund.
“Having a diversity of opinions, perspectives, and backgrounds around the policy making table makes all the difference in the solutions that we implement, and how long lasting and how good they are,” Gorbea said. “Diversity is good, and Rhode Island proves it.”
Publisher’s Note: This story is written in part from an interview in Rhode Island Monthly.