Yoellie Iglesias: The Mother of All Mothers

“I really believe that for me to be able to keep Angel safe, the only way that I can do that is to build a stronger community,” Yoellie Iglesias, Executive Director, Madre Latina told the CT Mirror. “And every time that I help a family in anything that they need, I really believe that that family will also work to keep my child safe.” That inspired Iglesias to start Madre Latina, a non-profit organization created in 2011 to educate, connect and empower Hispanic women and mothers. 

Dubbed “The mother of all Mothers,� for assisting mothers like her in raising their children, Iglesias is known as the go-to person for help in the Waterbury community.

Yoellie with her son Angel, her inspiration for Madre Latina.

“Madre Latina is an organization that is committed to seeing young women realize their dreams,� William R. Rybczyk, President/CEO of New Opportunities, Inc., said. “Through the commitment and dedication of Yoellie Iglesias and her team, the organization has impacted countless lives in the Waterbury community. By empowering young women to reach their potential, they are committed to seeing the next generation of Latinas in the Waterbury area succeed and drive.�

Young Representative of Waterbury is one of those empowering programs. Alahannis Lopez-Zea, a sophomore at UConn, participated in the leadership and civic engagement skills curriculum as a high school student. “I apply all the skills and knowledge that I learned to my adult and college life,� Lopez-Zea said.

“I reached my dream because I had a community to support me,” said Iglesias. Originally from Puerto Rico, she believes Hispanic-Latino parents need support in educating their children, but they can’t just leave it up to the school system.

“You need to take responsibility and make sure that your child is successful. When I go to open house, I give them my card and I tell them, ‘I am going to be your best friend, but if Angel (her son) falls behind without me knowing, I am going to be your worst enemy. Because if Angel needs anything – anything – you need to call me and I will do whatever to make sure he gets the tutors.’

Iglesias is critical of an education system that is not reflective and inclusive of the community it serves. “You don’t see enough Latinos, you don’t see parent liaisons who speak your language. You don’t see teachers who can understand you or understand what is going on with you or your family. I know that they are trying to get more teachers who are bilingual. They are really trying.”

Struggling with the same staffing shortages faced by districts across the country, Hartford Public Schools (HPS) launched the Paso a Paso Puerto Rico Recruitment Program to fill teacher vacancies ahead of the 2022-2023 school year.

Suggestion: Hartford Public Schools Recruit Bilingual Teachers ’Paso A Paso’

Iglesias initially attended Naugatuck Valley College in Waterbury before enrolling at Springfield College. She went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in 1999 and a master’s degree in education in 2004.

When asked what advice she has for parents, Iglesias said, “To not forget that they are the first teacher of their children, and they need to remember that we are the first role model. By that, I mean that we, as parents, should always remember that our children are looking at us. I don’t want my son to imitate anyone else. I want him to say I want to be like Mommy.”

Cover Photo: Yoellie Iglesias at a Madre Latina event.

Publisher’s Note: This is story is in part, an aggregate from She helps Latina moms be more involved in their children’s education.

CTLN and CTMirror collaborate to best serve the Connecticut Hispanic, Latino community.

Providing a ladder to higher education in CT

Eastern Connecticut State University is partnering with the Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut to offer scholarships to students from Hispanic-Latino backgrounds – students like David Galvez — who are in need of financial support. 

“It’s a blessing, because at this moment I definitely needed that amount so that I could keep going to school next year,� Galvez told CT Examiner. “It came to me at the right time.�

The alliance plans to offer scholarships of up to $2,500 each, which the university will match. University President Elsa Núñez said at a press conference on Monday that the $5,000 would cover tuition and fees. 

The alliance received a grant from the City of New London for $27,000 from the city’s coronavirus relief funds to go toward the scholarships. 

“Sometimes when new immigrant families and new Latina families arrive in the United States [and] they need to climb a ladder, there needs to be community providing that ladder,� Claudio Melendez-Cooper, executive director of the Hispanic Alliance, said.

David Galvez and Claudio Melendez-Cooper

Galvez says first-generation students like himself often don’t have someone to help them navigate the college application process. â€œI understand what it’s like to go through that. So the best I can do is help out those who I know what it’s like to be in their shoes,â€� he said about working with high school students.

Publisher’s Notes: This story is an aggregate from Hispanic Alliance Announces Scholarships, Partners with Eastern Connecticut State.

Cover Photo: MDS Architects

70-Hour Work Weeks, Sleeping In A Car: Personal Care Assistants Struggle To Care For Themselves

Dilliner Jordan works 62 hours a week taking care of two people who are too medically fragile to take care of themselves.

But she has no health insurance and often sleeps in her car because she can’t afford rent and a security deposit, even though she has been saving for months. She is fearful of staying at a shelter, which she believes will increase her chances of contracting COVID-19 for a second time.

“It does bother me,� the 63-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y., native said. “It bothers me a lot. I don’t understand how I could work two jobs and still can’t afford an apartment. I either make too much money for help or not enough.�

At 61, Lucía Nunez, who also works as a personal care assistant, commonly known as a home care worker, is in the same position. Nunez, of East Hartford, works 70 hours a week, taking care of three individuals who need help with the daily activities of life, including bathing and meals. Still, she hasn’t had a mammogram in four years.

“I can’t remember the last time I went to the doctor for a regular visit,� said Nunez, who also has no health insurance.

Jordan and Nunez are part of a 10,000-member workforce taking care of 6,000 of the state’s most vulnerable residents in their homes, paid by the state Department of Social Services (DSS) and state Department of Developmental Services (DDS) through Medicaid funding.

They are mostly women—predominantly women of color—with no health care benefits, no paid time off, no paid sick days and no path to retirement even as the pandemic has worn on into a third year, said Diedre Murch, director of home care for the New England Heathcare Employees Union, SEIU District 1199.

Dilleener Jordan wipes Tracy Lamb’s face while caring for her in Lamb’s West Haven apartment, March 22, 2022. Jordan is a home health care worker who cares for Lamb four days a week. Photo by Cloe Poisson

“We are unearthing more and more stories like Dilliner’s and Lucía’s,� Murch said. “The pandemic was like pouring gasoline on the fire that was already burning.�

The workers can’t legally strike to get better pay and benefits because the state has no backup system to take care of their clients, Murch said. The union, DSS and DDS have been in talks for months, even as federal pandemic relief for community care was made available. After a meeting with Gov. Ned Lamont last week, the union is hopeful that a new contract is coming, Murch said, but an agreement has not been reached.

Nunez works Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 3 to 9 p.m. for two people and then every other weekend taking care of a third person. “I’m always working more than 70 hours a week, so I can survive, pay my bills and put food on the table,� she said.

She gets no benefits other than what she calls “holy day pay,� she said.

“If you work on the Fourth of July—that’s a holy day—you get paid time and a half. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid because we have no paid holidays unless we work.�

Lucia Nunez

She only took a few days off when one of her clients contracted COVID-19 because she couldn’t afford to stop working. Her boyfriend puts gas in her car so she can use that money for food, she said. “Everything is more expensive,� she said.

Jordan works Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Tracy Lamb, a 52-year-old West Haven resident with multiple sclerosis who is bedridden and needs help with bathing, dressing and chores around the house.

“She makes me happy every time,� Lamb said. “When she goes away, I’m miserable.

“We have a very good relationship. She bathes me, she leaves the room spotless, she cooks for me, she’ll clean up the house. She never stops. She’s like the Energizer battery.�

Sometimes the two watch television or movies together while Jordan folds the laundry. Lamb said Jordan will go to the store for her on her day off if she needs something. “She always goes above and beyond for me,� Lamb said.

Jordan also works 10 hours on Fridays and 12 hours on Saturdays taking care of a second client on oxygen.

Jordan will sometimes stay overnight at Lamb’s home if it’s cold out. On the other nights, she’ll sleep in her car, she said. She cooks for herself when she cooks for her clients, leaving foods that need to remain cold in their refrigerator.

“I never hide my situation from them,� Jordan said. “When I cook for them, I cook for myself.�


Jordan said she was raised by a mother who believed that people should help their older neighbors or people in need. “I think that’s why I went into this,� Jordan said.

“My mom would send us to go help people. Even though I work six days a week, I spend Sunday going to see a lady who has nobody. I talk to her. We were the help for the elderly when I was a kid.�

She worked for a nursing home in 1987 but found that the job didn’t provide enough time to take care of people the way she felt was necessary, she said. “You need to make sure they are clean. You want to make them happy,� Jordan said. “There were so many residents you couldn’t give them the attention they needed. When I’m doing private duty, I’m able to do that for every one of my clients.�

After working in home care for nearly 30 years, she had moved to South Carolina before the start of the pandemic to spend time with her son and his family, she said. She was able to work less because she lived with his family and was enjoying life, until tragedy struck.

Her son went to the store one day and never returned, she said. He had been shot and killed by the store manager who mistakenly believed he was trying to rob the place, she said. “It was a shock. He just never came back from the store,� Jordan said. “It was very traumatic. He left nine kids. You come to the point where you can’t feel. I was in trauma.�

She sought the help of a therapist through telehealth and then came back to Connecticut to escape the memories of their time together, she said. “I couldn’t stay. I kept seeing him everywhere,� she said.

Since then, she’s been working with Lamb and her other client while trying to avoid catching COVID-19 for a second time. Her first bout in November 2021 left her with lung problems and fatigue, she said. She lost two weeks’ pay while quarantining because, by that point, federal sick time pay for home care workers impacted by COVID-19 had ended.

Jordan said she makes it a point to tell her clients that they still make life worth living even if they are bedridden or have physical challenges. Some days she tries to motivate them even as she’s exhausted from the workload, she said.

“Everybody has a calling,� Jordan said. “It takes a special person to take tender loving care of people. I try to give them a better quality of life. Everyone should have a better quality of life.�

Jordan covers Lamb with a comforter after helping her get back into bed.

70-Hour Work Weeks, Sleeping In A Car: Personal Care Assistants Struggle To Care For Themselves was first published on Connecticut Health I-Team.

All photos by Cloe Poisson.

Publisher’s Note:  CTLN and c-hit.org collaborate to best serve the Connecticut Hispanic, Latino community.


CTLN Opinion+: Maritza Bond

This week, Connecticut Latino News Opinion+ had the opportunity to speak with Maritza Bond, the current Director of Health for the City of New Haven and Secretary of State Candidate of Connecticut. 

Bond became the first Latina health director for a major city in Connecticut in 2016. She says that “rompiendo barreras� and being a woman leader have been challenging, but that she’s happy to serve the community. She hopes to inspire other Latinas to pursue roles in which they aren’t currently represented as well.

“Listen, a woman like me has been able to be in the position that I am in now, and I want to be able to extend that further and be able to bring hope to others that are in a similar situation that I grew up in, to be inspired to be able to fulfill your passions. There are no barriers to stop you from achieving any goal. I’m so grateful to be in the primary and to be able to run for secretary of state. I’ve never dreamt that this could be possible for a Latina like me,� she said.

Encouraging voter turnout is important to Bond, who says that if she were elected, she would bring early voting to the state because she understands that issues like scheduling time in between work, long wait times at the polls, and transportation insecurity make it difficult for some communities to participate on Election Day.

Martiza says that equity is important to her and that she hopes to help minority-owned businesses by certifying them, maintaining records to make their businesses more visible to larger firms, and offering technical support to help owners with language or literacy barriers overcome those challenges and fully take advantage of the resources available to them.

She invites everyone to vote, stating, “The Secretary of State should have a diverse ticket. Latinos have not served in this constitutional office; we are well overdue. It is ‘el momento de nosotros’. So we have an opportunity to do this, but I cannot do this alone.â€�

Resources mentioned in this video:



Mortgage Relief Program for Connecticut Homeowners 

Governor Ned Lamont announced on Monday the launch of MyHomeCT – a new State of Connecticut program that is providing mortgage relief to homeowners who have experienced financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, many families have fallen behind on their regular housing payments, placing them at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, more than one-third of Connecticut homeowners have lost employment income and more than one in nine have fallen behind on housing payments at some point during the pandemic.

As part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Connecticut has been awarded approximately $123 million to establish MyHomeCT, a program funded by the Homeowner Assistance Fund. The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) will be working in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Housing to administer the program. 

“The public health crisis that we’ve experienced over the last two years has had a significant impact on the ability of many homeowners to pay for the costs of their housing, which is why we are dedicating this funding to provide much-needed support,� Governor Lamont said. “Thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act and the support of our Congressional delegation, MyHomeCT will ease some of the financial burden that homeowners have faced during this pandemic and will help ensure that their housing situation remains stable. I encourage any homeowner who has come across difficult times since the pandemic to learn more about the program and consider applying.�

50 percent of Hispanic-Latino homeowners lost income by the first quarter of 2021, the highest among any ethnic group. As a result, 16 percent of Hispanic-Latino homeowners were behind on their mortgage payments. That is more than twice the 7 percent share of white homeowners.

MyHomeCT Overview 

The program will be able to help eligible homeowners who have suffered financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic by offering reinstatement, up to 12 months of forward payments, or a combination of both. The assistance is meant to cure and/or prevent mortgage and housing-related delinquencies and foreclosure.

Eligibility requirements include:  

  • Applicants must live in the state of Connecticut and occupy the property as their primary residence.
  • Applicant/household member must have experienced a COVID-19-related financial hardship after January 21, 2020, or experienced a financial hardship before January 21, 2020, which was then exacerbated by the pandemic. Assistance for delinquency prior to January 21, 2020, is capped to three months.
  • Property must be an owner-occupied 1-to-4 unit house, condominium, townhouse, or manufactured home.
  • Homeowners applying for mortgage assistance must have a mortgage that had a principal balance at or below the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s conforming loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at the time of origination.
  • Household income must be equal to or less than 150 percent area median income (AMI), adjusted for household size.

Kristin’s Story

Like so many others in Connecticut, Kristin’s family fell on hard times. With two young children at home and only one income, it was becoming difficult to keep up with housing expenses:

“…I got a call one day that saved everything. My mortgage servicer called to tell me about the MyHomeCT program and encouraged me to apply. The application process was easier than I expected, and the amazing relief the program provided was more than I could have ever hoped for. It gave my family a second chance, and we are beyond grateful. Thank you so much to CHFA for keeping my family in our home and our mortgage current!� 

“Due to many unforeseen circumstances, such as job losses or the need to care for loved ones, thousands of Connecticut homeowners are now in the situation where they need assistance or they will be in danger of losing their homes,� Seila Mosquera-Bruno, commissioner of the Department of Housing, said. “The MyHomeCT program will address a great need in our state by providing direct assistance to cure or prevent mortgage delinquencies and pay for other housing-related costs.�

How to Apply: If you are a Connecticut homeowner that has faced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for the MyHomeCT program. Visit: www.chfa.org/MyHomeCT to learn more and to apply.

If you need help with your application, you may call 877-894-4111 (toll-free) or visit one of the MyHomeCT Resource Centers.

The list of resource centers can be found at www.chfa.org/MyHomeCT.

Publisher’s Notes: This article was written in part by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority.

Call For Applications: Journalism Camp 2 

The Hortencia Zavala Foundation (HZF) is pleased to sponsor, once again, the Journalism Camp: Covering Race, Ethnicity, and Culture, a first-in-class 12-week program providing practical guidelines for fair and accurate storytelling.

The FREE virtual workshop led by award-winning news media veteran and twice president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)Hugo Balta, returns after a successful launch last Fall. 

Six young journalists from across the country participated in the inaugural class. “I have nothing but good things to say about the camp,â€� said Stephania Rodriguez, a student at Depaul University in Chicago, Illinois. “It exceeded my expectations by feeding my knowledge, allowing me to network and connect with others, and publishing my work.â€�

Boris Q’va had this to say about his experience, “I felt heard when I needed it the most.â€� Q’va is enrolled in the New Media Journalism Master of Arts degree at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. “All of the lectures were equally important to me, but I found myself thinking about Solutions Journalism, and how it builds trust with the public through transparency.â€�

SUGGESTION:Meet The 2021 Fellows

As part of the program, all of the stories produced by the fellows were published on one or all of the Latino News Network news outlets. Balta is the owner and publisher of Connecticut Latino News, part of the Latino News Network.

“It is imperative that students get real work experiences and mentoring to navigate a newsroom that more often than not is not diverse and inclusive,â€� said Balta. 

Due to a lack of equitable representation in newsrooms, there is an urgent need to train journalists to be transparent in news gathering and reporting on the complexity of racial identity, social constructs relating to ethnic terms, and cultural competence.

Covering race, ethnicity, and culture: a guideline for fair and accurate storytelling is a course designed to go beyond the inverted pyramid of basic news writing in examining the terminology, usage, and word choice of stories providing greater visibility and understanding of deep-rooted inequities in all aspects of society.

Guest speakers also share insights on networking with a purpose, strategies for managing one’s career, and the experience of often being the only person of color in the newsroom.

The Journalism Camp is open to all students (undergrad, graduate) in good standing.

The application process runs from May 1 to 29. The weekly class will begin on September 7.

For more information about HZF’s Journalism Camp curriculum, how to apply, and ask questions – please email us at hortenciazavalafoundation

The Hortencia Zavala Foundation (HZF) was founded in 2016 in honor of Hugo Balta’s maternal grandmother.

HZF is a not-for-profit organization that helps students offset the costs of higher education with scholarships. In 2021, the organization expanded its support of students to include the Journalism Camp.

Organ Donation: A Birthday Story  

“Cumpleaños feliz, te deseamos a ti,� our family sang “Happy Birthday,� to my wife, Adriana. “Cumpleaños felices,� we cheered, not the date when she was born, but instead the date she received a new liver. Adriana was born in April, but we also celebrate her birthday in November, thanks to a life-saving organ transplant operation. She had suffered from polycystic liver disease, a rare condition that causes cysts (fluid-filled sacs) to grow throughout the liver.

Soon after the birth of our first child in 2003, my wife’s aggressive form of the disease became even more severe, deforming her organ further. A healthy liver has a smooth appearance weighing between three and three and a half pounds. Adriana’s polycystic liver looking like a cluster of large grapes, weighed just over 20 pounds when it was removed.

The enlarged liver displaced her other organs, complicating her overall health; Adriana would surely die without a transplant. Her medical miracle happened in her native Colombia when doctors told us that an organ donor, a woman who unfortunately died in a car accident, was a match with Adriana.

In general, about 75 percent of people who undergo liver transplants live for at least five years, according to the Mayo Clinic. That means that for every 100 people who receive a liver transplant for any reason, about 75 will live for five years and 25 will die within five years. Adriana celebrated 17 years with her new liver last November.

April is National Donate Life Month. Doctors and advocates say it’s more important than ever to bring attention to the need for organ donors. Approximately every 10 minutes, another person is added to the national waiting list.

I became an organ donor soon after Adriana’s liver transplant. Before then, I was like many Hispanics-Latinos, who are less likely to donate organs than Americans as a whole, according to organ donation experts. Hispanics-Latinos are disproportionately in need of donor organs and are less likely to consent to donation than their non-Hispanic counterparts, reports the National Library of Medicine.

“We have transformed the way that they’re thinking and looking at … organ transplantation,â€� said Dr. Juan Carlos Caicedo, organ transplant surgeon and the director of the Hispanic Transplant Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. In an interview on WTTW’s Latino Voices, Dr. Caicedo told me that his team of 50 medical professionals at Northwestern Medicine’s Hispanic Transplant Program helps break down language and cultural barriers in the Hispanic-Latino community. “To be able to do it in their own language – knowing their culture, because our team is bilingual and bicultural — and removing all the language barriers and cultural barriers, we have been able to engage them in a positive way,â€� he said.

Last year, nephrologists at Loyola University Medical Center told Adriana that her kidneys, which suffer from polycystic kidney disease (PKD), were giving out. PKD is another inherited disorder in which clusters of cysts develop primarily within one’s kidneys, causing them to enlarge and lose function over time. As a result, Adriana is fast approaching the point of needing dialysis. 

I quickly volunteered to be tested to see if I could be a living donor for my wife.

Adriana and I out on the town.

Transplant patients are often reluctant to consider an organ from their spouses because the organs may not be a good match in blood and tissue type. Poor matching can cause the recipient’s immune system to reject the organ.

But a report in the journal Dialysis and Transplantation found that kidney transplantation from spousal donors “has comparable outcomes to those of other living-unrelated donors, and shortens the time spent on the waiting list.â€� 

Adriana is on that list, and the wait could be as long as three years. Happily, Adriana and I learned that I am a solid match to donate my kidney to her. We will have the surgery in June.

There are more than 100,000 people currently on the national transplant waiting list. 

Current statistics show that Americans belonging to minority groups make up nearly 60 percent of those waiting for an organ transplant.  Although a transplant can be successful regardless of the race or ethnicity of the donor and recipient, there is a greater chance of longer-term survival for the recipient if the genetic background of the donor and recipient are closely matched.  

Please consider becoming an organ donor. Americans from every community are needed to help make a life-saving difference. Persons who register as organ donors can save up to eight lives and enhance the lives of 75 others. 

Some of those donations can take place while you’re living. For example, living donors can give a lung, kidney, or part of their liver, which can almost regrow to its original size.

Next year, my family looks forward to adding a new June birthday for Adriana, celebrating her new kidney, the gift of life, and our family’s love.

Hugo Balta is the Owner and Publisher of Connecticut Latino News. He and Adriana celebrated 21 years of marriage in February. They reside in Chicago with their two children, Isabella and Esteban.

Reaching Latino Voters Is All About The Message

Publisher’s Note: Please participate in a short survey at the end of the story. Knowing how this story may have influenced, you will help guide our future reporting...Thank you!

As the population of Hispanics-Latinos increases in the United States, and with it the number of eligible voters, so does the debate on how to best reach them.

Some thought leaders favor spatial over racial voting techniques, arguing that what a candidate says is more important than who says it.

Democrats are re-evaluating their messaging to Hispanics-Latinos in this year’s midterm elections after the 2020 election saw a substantial vote shift, with 63 percent of Hispanic-Latinos voting for President Joe Biden, down from 71 percent of them voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Republicans are working to build on the success of former President Donald Trump, who made gains among Hispanic-Latino voters in 2020 compared with his 2016 performance. Trump increased votes in heavily Hispanic-Latino Hartford and Bridgeport by five and three percent.

Campaigns traditionally use symbolic cultural messaging like speaking a few words in Spanish, overemphasizing immigration reform, and playing mariachi music in order to engage the constituency. A mistake that ignores life experiences says Antonio Arellano, interim executive director of Jolt Action, a progressive organization in Texas that aims to increase Latino political engagement.

“Both political parties need to recognize that Latinx folks across the country have been here for decades, for centuries and have…for generations been overlooked, neglected and underrepresented,� Arellano told Time.

The assumption is that the Hispanic-Latino electorate is a monolith. As if, for example, what motivates Puerto Ricans in Willimantic, Connecticut to vote isn’t very different than Mexican Americans in Imperial County, California.

The nuances range in age, race, gender, religion, socio-economic status, political ideology and educational attainment. And since most of the more than 60 million Hispanics-Latinos in the U.S. are born in the country, many social scientists don’t believe language is a common barrier.

“For some Latino voters, it’s not that they don’t understand English,” said Valeriano Ramos, Director of Strategic Alliances, Everyday Democracy. “It is that they don’t identify with those candidates.”

CTLatinoNews.com (CTLN) s participating in Advancing Democracy: Connecticut Solutions Journalism Initiative as part of eight reporting projects in 10 newsrooms across the United States. The six-month program is sponsored by the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN); its mission is to spread the practice of solutions journalism: rigorous reporting on responses to social problems.

CTLN is exploring solutions to why Hispanics-Latinos don’t vote by engaging with thought leaders in Connecticut and drawing from the best practices and lessons learned in communities across the country.

Studies find that messaging is paramount for Hispanic-Latino voters, especially when the candidate is not a member of the ethnic group. In Racial or Spatial Voting? The Effects of Candidate Ethnicity and Ethnic Group Endorsements in Local Elections, Cheryl Boudreau, Christopher S. Elmendorf, and Scott A. MacKenzie’s analysis demonstrate that candidates’ ideological positions powerfully shape voters’ choices in local elections, even when they must choose between candidates of different ethnicities.

The theory of spatial voting concludes that candidates take positions in an ideological space and that voters choose the candidate who is closest to their own ideological position. Thus, spatial voting produces a close alignment between voters’ policy views and those of the candidates they choose.

Boudreau, Elmendorf, and MacKenzie studied the 2011 mayoral election in San Francisco, a minority-majority population, as non-Hispanic whites comprise less than half of the people, 42 percent, according to the 2010 Census. The Asian population at the time was 33 percent, and Hispanics-Latinos were 15 percent. Incumbent Ed Lee successfully defeated John Avalos and Dennis Herrera to become the first elected Asian-American mayor of a major American city.

Their analysis indicates that Lee’s ideology strongly affected voters’ choices, even after accounting for the impact of race/ethnicity, partisanship, evaluations of local government performance, and other factors.

Gains and losses notwithstanding, most Americans eligible to vote in 2020 said they were contacted by a campaign or a group supporting a campaign in the month before the November election. Fewer Hispanic-Latino and Asian American citizens reported such contacts, according to the Pew Research Center. A mistake Republicans are working to make sure doesn’t happen again this year.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has opened Hispanic Community Centers across the U.S., including one in the city of New Britain. Overall, conservatives are aware that Democrats do better with Hispanic-Latino voters; the Integrated Communications and Research (ICR) poll found that 23 percent identify as Republican. So, the GOP is taking an active role in nurturing Hispanic-Latino support.

Ruben Rodriguez, Chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Connecticut, leads the statewide efforts. “We need to change the way Latinos vote in Connecticut,” said Rodriguez.

Republicans are eyeing the 5th Congressional seat, the Governor’s seat, and the Senate seat. Democrats currently hold all. The party thinks the state is ready for change.

“As chairman of the group, the biggest goal is to increase the participation in all of the political levels. We want the candidates to represent the true value of what we want to bring,” said Rodriguez.

Trump was successful in mobilizing conservative Hispanics-Latinos in 2020. Republicans are focusing their messaging to Hispanics-Latinos on strengthening the economy, religious and traditional values.

“Our message of family, faith, and free enterprise is one that resonates with all people, regardless of race, creed, or religion,� said George Logan, a former Republican state senator running for the 5th district seat.

Whether engagement with Hispanic-Latino voters by candidates from either party focused on policy positions will be successful in resonating with them, one thing is certain; both need them to go out and vote. Unfortunately, that’s not an easy task, as midterm elections typically result in lower turnout rates across all voting groups.

Cover Photo: Photo by cottonbro.


CTLN Opinion+: Marilyn Alverio

This week, CTLN Opinion+ had the opportunity to speak with Marilyn Alverio, the founder & CEO of Latinas and Power Corporation and the producer of the Latinas & Power Symposium annual event.

We had an informative discussion about Alverio’s motivation for creating Latinas and Power Corporation, the research report findings on Latinas’ barriers in today’s workforce, and her ultimate goal for connecting with women to become leaders.  

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Latinas and Power Corporation team released results from their report “The Latina Pathway to Excellence in a Post-Pandemic World,” showing women’s challenges in the workplace. 

Looking to support, motivate and inspire women and amplify Latinas’ voices in Connecticut and beyond, Alverio uses her report findings to create a leadership Institute that would enable Latinas to succeed as leaders and advocates.

“One of the inequities that we found is that Latinas often start off on a not leveled playing field, and so we are still dealing with challenges as it relates to cultural expectations,” said Alverio referring to the messages still heard in the communities that women should not exceed men in a corporate environment.

Marilyn Alverio is a nationally recognized expert and speaker in multicultural marketing. She is known for her work as the former National Director of Ethnic Marketing for a Fortune 100 company. As an entrepreneur, she led Ethnic Marketing Solutions for nine years, an agency that focused on strategic marketing for companies interested in learning about and tapping into multicultural markets.

She brings invaluable insights into the corporate arena and has laid the groundwork to increase and retain business in ethnic markets for numerous companies around the country. She has held multiple management positions within the airlines, pharmaceutical, education, financial, and health insurance industries for more than twenty years, applying her vast knowledge in strategic marketing and branding strategies. 

Alverio has been active in Connecticut communities for more than 30 years. She has served on or is serving as an advisory committee for the Connecticut Health Foundation, World Affairs Council, Spanish American Merchants Association Marketing team, Urban League of Greater Hartford, and United Way of Greater Hartford marketing committee. 

Latinas & Power is a non-profit organization that continues to grow at the local, national, and global levels with in-person and new virtual platforms throughout the world and a mission to develop influential leaders and community advocates.

Latinas & Power Symposium 2022 event is taking place on June 22nd in Hartford, Connecticut. 

Key points of discussion:

  • About Latina and Power Non-profit Organization
  • Discussion of “Latinas Pathway to excellence in a post Pandemic world” report
  • Process of report findings
  • Latinas Leadership Institute for 2023
  • The continued support for women in a corporate environment
  • Where to find the report


Here is the link to register through eventbrite. https://latinasandpower2022.eventbrite.com

The report can be downloaded on our website as well: https://latinasandpower.com

The organization is in the early bird stage so be sure to take advantage of the $50.00 off during this period.

Registration is $125.00 until May 13th

Race and culture to motivate Latinos to vote

Publisher’s Note: Please participate in a short survey at the end of the story. Knowing how this story may have influenced, you will help guide our future reporting...Thank you!

With the Hispanic-Latino population in the United States rising, there is a growing concern that systemic barriers prevent the community from engaging in active democratic participation.

Some thought leaders believe that better representation of political candidates who are from the marginalized group will inspire Hispanics-Latinos to vote.

Maritza Bond Credit: Paul Bass / New Haven Independent

“It is not about having English and Spanish on platforms and (in) content. You got to think about the culture”, said Maritza Bond, health director for the City of New Haven, seeking the office of Connecticut Secretary of the State in the upcoming November election.

“I want this exploratory committee to be an inspiration for all young girls, all Latinos and Latinas, and all young people across the state to never hold back from your dreams and aspirations,” she said.

Bond, who has Puerto Rican roots, believes it is critical for representatives in government to reflect the diverse Hispanic-Latino communities in Connecticut.

A lack of rapport with politicians is an issue abetting the notable lower voter turnout of Hispanics-Latinos, according to liberal activists.

Whether or not Hispanic-Latino voters are motivated to vote based on candidates’ race and ethnicity (racial voting) is an idea that has merit and is being tested.

CTLatinoNews.com (CTLN) s participating in Advancing Democracy: Connecticut Solutions Journalism Initiative as part of eight reporting projects in 10 newsrooms across the United States. The six-month program is sponsored by the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN); its mission is to spread the practice of solutions journalism: rigorous reporting on responses to social problems.

CTLN is exploring solutions to why Hispanics-Latinos don’t vote by engaging with thought leaders in Connecticut and drawing from the best practices and lessons learned in communities across the country.

Solutions Journalism Network logo - The CT Mirror

Historically, the Hispanic-Latino voter turnout has been relatively low. The group reached a milestone in the 2020 presidential election with a record 32 million eligible voters, the largest minority voting group, and the country’s second-largest voter bloc by ethnicity.

While Hispanic-Latino voters going to the polls grew to 54 percent nationally compared to 48 percent in 2016, the number fell short of its potential.

Hispanics-Latinos make up nearly 20 percent of the country’s population. Still, about 67-hundred elected officials are Hispanic-Latino, according to a 2018 analysis by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, NALEO. That amounts to a political representation rate of just over 1-percent in local, state, and federal elected offices.

No Hispanic-Latino has ever held one of Connecticut’s six constitutional statewide offices. The same goes for the five Congressional seats. And except for 2001 to 2015 in Hartford, Hispanics-Latinos have not been visible in mayor’s offices.

Approximately 48 percent of Hispanics-Latinos nationwide consider themselves Democrats, according to the pollster, Integrated Communications and Research (ICR). Still, party leaders fear support may be waning as Republicans double down on gains following the 2020 election.

“If you are not at the table, you are on the menu,” said former democratic Connecticut legislator Chris Soto. “Until our federal and state delegations reflect our communities, we can always do better.”

Soto and fellow liberals support mentoring programs like “Representation Matters: Are You Ready to Run for State Office?” co-hosted by The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM). The nonpartisan organization of municipal leaders representing towns and cities aims to help people from diverse groups break into politics.

Groton Town Councilor Aundré Bumgardner, a Democrat and formerly a member of the Republican party, talked about the importance of mentoring Hispanic-Latino candidates at the March event. “When there’s no track record or precedent of somebody like you serving in an elected capacity as significant as state representative, you don’t know who to turn to when you have a question, or you’re struggling with issues unique to your role,” he said. “I was fortunate and blessed to have members offer their mentorship in my first term, and that made a world of difference in my ability to get things done.”

Studies point to increased voting among Hispanic-Latinos when competitive Hispanic-Latino candidates run for office. In Metropolitan Latino Political Behavior: Voter Turnout and Candidate Preference in Los Angeles, political scientist Matt Barreto and colleagues argued that, given the appropriate circumstances, the number of Hispanic-Latino voters would increase because of a preference for a co-ethnic candidate.

Political analyst Eli Valentin used an analysis like Barreto’s to investigate Hispanic-Latino voting patterns in New York and found that the electorate’s voting participation increased when a viable Hispanic-Latino had been at the top of the ballot.

When observing Fernando Ferrer’s candidacy for mayor of New York City in 2001, Valentin noted an increase in voter participation within the New York precincts with the highest Hispanic-Latino populations compared to other mayoral primaries when a viable Hispanic-Latino was not on the ballot. For example, voter participation in heavily Latino precincts increased 30-40 percent in 2005, when Ferrer became the first Hispanic-Latino to win a Democratic mayoral primary, compared to years with no Hispanic-Latino candidate at the top of the ballot.

Racial or Spatial Voting? The Effects of Candidate Ethnicity and Ethnic Group Endorsements in Local Elections also finds a strong relationship between voters’ race/ethnicity and the candidates they choose, even if their ideological positions are different. That is to say, a Hispanic-Latino will vote for another Hispanic-Latino candidate regardless of fundamental differences.

State Rep. Hilda E. Santiago, D-Meriden

“I am a Latina. I am a woman,â€� State Rep. Hilda E. Santiago, D-Meriden, said. â€‹â€œI’ve been fighting in the trenches. I have the experience.â€�

In 2005, Santiago became the first Puerto Rican woman to win an open seat on Meriden’s City Council, she said highlighting her ethnicity. “I am proud to say that I am the first Latina to be named Assistant Deputy Speaker Pro-Tempore — a high-ranking leadership post in the House of Representatives.â€�

Vowing to fight for voting rights and help her party attract the state’s growing Hispanic-Latino population, Santiago officially announced her candidacy for secretary of the state in December.

Whether featuring a candidate’s common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background is enough to inspire Hispanics-Latinos to vote this year is uncertain.

What is certain is that Democrats and Republicans cannot afford the growing electorate to sit this one out. Unfortunately, that’s not an easy task, as midterm elections typically result in lower turnout rates across all voting groups.

Cover Photo by Edmond Dantès

Publisher’s Note: This story was done in collaboration with Nicole Zappone and Hugo Balta.