Immigration, poverty, education, discrimination, disengagement are all issues affecting Latino youth today and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is leading the charge for an open dialogue on these issues. NCLR is the Nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization founded in 1968. Recently, Dr. Particia Foxen, the Deputy Director of Research of NCLR released their newest report entitled “Resilient Latino Youth: In Their Own Words.” The new report not only focuses on the stories of young, second-generation American Latinos struggling to cope with daily obstacles but also highlights policies and programs to build on their resilience.
Currently, there are nearly 18 million Hispanics 18 years or younger living in the United States, accounting for more than one-quarter of all American children. More than half of Hispanic youth in the United States are second-generation and children of immigrants. Within 20 years, one in three American youth will be Latino. The report analyzed recent research findings by national organizations highlighting hardships faced today by Latino youth living throughout the United States including Chicago and Los Angeles.
The report’s key findings included:
- Resilient Latino youth who participated in the study tend to possess a particular set of personal characteristics, including:
- A long-term sense of vision and optimism
- A strong work ethic, ambition, and perseverance
- Communication, social skills, and flexibility
- Empathy, self-awareness, and the desire to break the negative cycle
- Latino youth attribute some of their resilient traits to particular attributes of immigrant Latino families, including:
- Vigilance and communication of traditional values on the part of parents and guardians
- Expectations of responsibility and solidarity from and toward extended family
- Community-based programs and mentors often played a central role in fostering resilience, including:
- Mentors and programs to fill a gap and act as a bridge between immigrant parents and their children
- Programs and mentors to teach youth skills and knowledge
- Mentors to serve as emotional and psychosocial support for youth
Of the report, NCLR’s President and CEO Janet Murguia stated, “Anyone familiar with the Latino community knows how remarkably resilient Hispanics are, including young Latinos.” She further stated, “It is therefore critical for us as a country to look at, and invest in, community and school programs and public policies that foster resilience so that these young people can achieve their full potential.”
NCLR’s report entitled “Resilient Latino Youth: In Their Own Words” can be found at www.nclr.org.