December 2011 Newsletter (archive)

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December Spotlight: The State of Latino Chicago 2

State of Latino Chicago 2010: The New Equation Report

This month we turn the spotlight on the Institute’s latest research report, The State of Latino Chicago 2010: The New Equation, which has attracted wide media coverage in Chicago. The report, which analyzes the economic contribution of Latinos in Chicago, was released at an event held in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on November 16, with about 100 community leaders, politicians, academics, and journalists in attendance.

The New Equation has attracted media attention for its key finding that Latinos contribute almost $1.2 billion more in tax revenues than they cost in the delivery of public services like education, health care, and other services like public safety. Coauthored by Institute Research Director Juan Carlos Guzmán and Associate Director Allert Brown-Gort, along with Senior Editor Andrew Deliyannides and Research Analyst Roger Knight (now with the National Children’s Study Greater Chicago Study Center), the report is the second in the Institute’s State of Latino Chicago series, a follow-up to 2005’s This is Home Now.

“When we started this research,” says Guzmán, “we wanted to examine the proposition that Latinos do not contribute economically, and that they are costly to local governments. What we found was surprising and very positive. When you look at the balance of the costs and benefits, the costs of educating Latinos and what they contribute in terms of taxes, the balance is positive.”

The study also found that Chicago-area Latinos earned $26.2 billion in 2009, which translates to $12.3 billion in spending power, yielding a total impact of $23 billion after accounting for the indirect impact of Latino consumption spending on goods and services.

“In economically trying times, with many looking for a scapegoat for our region’s fiscal woes, the Institute for Latino Studies once and for all refutes the notion that Latinos are socioeconomic ‘drains,’” said Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Chicago-based Latino Policy Forum. “Investing in Latinos offers a sound return on investment, helping shape our strong, shared future as a region. With this new study, the Institute for Latino Studies paints a compelling picture of the community’s robust economic contributions.”

The November 16 event kicked off with a welcome and introductory remarks by Brown-Gort, after which Guzmán presented a summary of the report’s findings. To conclude the event, a panel composed of Ngoan Le, Vice President of Program for the Chicago Community Trust, William Testa, Vice President and Director of Regional Research for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and Eduardo Arnal Palomera, Consul General of Mexico in Chicago, discussed the report’s findings.

The report was a team effort by the Institute. Institute researchers Maria Awal, Raúl Jara, Waldo Mikels-Carrasco, and Cynthia Duarte all contributed in various ways to the production of the report, as did former Communications Director Caroline Domingo. Malena Estrada and Fr. Don McNeill from the Institute’s Chicago office, along with Maribel Rodriguez, provided valuable logistical support. Hats off to everyone who contributed to the success of the report and the release event!

You can download the report at A sampling of the wide media coverage the report received can be found at


Matovina Publishes Book on History of Latino Catholicism
Institute Faculty Fellow Timothy Matovina has published Latino Catholicism: Transformation in America’s Largest Church (Princeton University Press). The publication “provides a comprehensive overview of the Latino Catholic experience in America from the sixteenth century to today and offers the most in-depth examination to date of the important ways the US Catholic Church, its evolving Latino majority and American culture are mutually transforming one another.” To learn more please see, The book was featured, along with two other recent books on Latino Catholicism, in a session of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion November 19 in San Francisco. Institute Fellow Rev. Virgilio Elizondo moderated the panel and served as respondent.

Brown-Gort Publishes in International Volume
Institute Associate Director Allert Brown-Gort is a contributor to the recently published book, La UNESCO y la protección internacional de la cultura en el espacio iberoamericano (UNESCO and the International Protection of Culture in Spain and Latin America). Brown-Gort’s chapter, “Estados Unidos y los convenios de la UNESCO en América del Norte,” is an analysis of how the distinct cultures of the three North American countries of Canada, United States, and Mexico have conditioned their governments’ participation in UNESCO. The book, published by Civitas, resulted from a seminar that gathered a group of leading specialists from several disciplines and countries (Spain, Italy, USA, Mexico, Uruguay) at the Institute of International and European Studies of the Universidad Carlos III, Madrid, in May 2010.

Francisco Aragón interviewed on NPR
Letras Latinas Director Francisco Aragón was recently interviewed by Chicano writers Benjamin Alire Sáenz and Daniel Chacón, who co-host “Words on a Wire,” a weekly “radio show about fiction, poetry, the writing community, and whatever other issues concern literary writers and readers of books.” In addition to his own work, Aragón spoke about the origins of Letras Latinas—in particular the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize Prize and Initiative. The show aired November 13 on NPR station KTEP in El Paso, Texas, but can heard online as a podcast:

Remembrances of Things in Texas Past
José E. Limón, Notre Dame Professor of American Literature and Institute Faculty Fellow, participated in a symposium on November 21, 2011, at South Texas College to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Primer Congreso Mexicanista which met In Laredo, Texas, in 1911 to organize against injustice toward Mexican-Americans. The Congreso was the subject of Limón's very first scholarly publication in 1973.

Celador Angón Publishes on Religion in Spain
Oscar Celador Angón, visiting faculty fellow, is a contributor to the recently published Encyclopedia of Global Religion, a SAGE publication that provides a comprehensive overview of the globalization of religious culture and society around the world in both its historical and contemporary aspects. Celador Angón’s chapter is titled “Religion in Spain.”

Richman Presents at American Anthropological Association
Institute Academic Director Karen Richman presented the paper “Traces of Persons, Tidemarks of Things: Migration, Vodou, and Christianity In Léogâne, Haiti” at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, November 16–20 in Montreal. She also served as program chair for the Society of Anthropology of Religion and was a discussant for the panel “The Cradle of Voodoo: Religion and the Occult in Benin.”

Letras Latinas Launches Latino/a Poetry Now at Harvard?
Letras Latinas, the Institute’s literary program, in collaboration with the Poetry Society of America, launched “Latino/a Poetry Now,” a multi-year initiative in five parts. Installment one featured Rosa Alcalá, who teaches at UTEP’s bilingual MFA program, Eduardo C. Corral, the first Latino/a poet to win the Yale Younger Poets Award, and Aracelis Girmay, recent recipient of an NEA poetry fellowship. The event and colloquium, moderated by Francisco Aragón, took place on the evening of November 8 at Harvard University. Installment two is slated for next March at Georgetown University. For more information, including the full slate of readings and poets, visit Letras Latinas Blog

Voting Observatory Established
Institute Visiting Fellow Javier Esguevillas Ruiz is slated to lead an observatory on Mexico’s federal election in collaboration with the Mexican Consulate in Chicago and the Federal Electoral Institute of Mexico. The observatory, which will function November 1, 2011, to July 31, 2012, will collect data, organize discussions with experts, and conduct and publish an analysis of Mexico’s efforts to promote voting in Mexican federal elections by Mexican nationals living in the US, focusing on those living in the Chicago metropolitan area. Esguevillas Ruiz also participated in the first “Jalisco University Fair in Chicago" November 5–6 organized by the International Relations Department of the Education Secretariat of the State of Jalisco.


On-Campus Events

Dylan Miner Exhibition Reception
The Institute for Latino Studies is pleased to announce the exhibition “Un Grito de los Grandes Lagos/Un Grito from the Great Lakes: The Graphic Works of Dylan Miner” on display now in Galería América in McKenna Hall through December 2, 2011. A closing reception for the artist will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Friday, December 2. Miner holds a PhD in the history of art from the University of New Mexico and has published and lectured extensively, with two books forthcoming. Miner currently teaches in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University, coordinates the Michigan Native Arts Initiative, and curates at the MSU Museum. For more information please contact Teresa Santos, curator, at 574-631-5224.

Christmas Posters from Puerto Rico’s DIVEDCO
During the Christmas holiday season the Institute is pleased to be exhibiting 40 silkscreen prints produced by Puerto Rico’s Division of Community Education (DIVEDCO). From the early 1950s until it was disbanded in 1990, DIVEDCO produced at least two commemorative Christmas posters each year. As a group, these can be seen as powerful symbols of the program’s embrace of local traditions and its attempts to maintain Puerto Rico’s cultural integrity in the face of the ever-increasing influence of the United States. The posters featured in the exhibition come from the collection of Professors Thomas Anderson and Marisel Moreno, both of whom are fellowsof the Institute. A comprehensive exhibition of DIVEDCO posters and books from the same collection will be featured at the Snite Museum of Art from January through March 2012. The exhibition will be held in the Institute’s Galeria América from December 5, 2011, to February 3, 2012. For more information please contact Teresa Santos, curator, at 574-631-5224.

Finals Week Study Hours at the Julian Samora Library
The Institute will host open study hours for finals week. Snacks, sodas, hot chocolate, candy, granola bars, fruit, will be provided in the quiet comfortable setting of the Julian Samora Library, 2nd floor, McKenna Hall. Thursday, December 8 and Friday, December 9 study hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Extended study hours for finals will be held 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Wednesday, December 12–16. Thursday and Friday, December 15 and 16, finals week study hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

January Events
Looking ahead to January 2012 the Institute will be hosting a Junior Faculty Workshop on Friday, January 20, 2012, at 3:00 pm with a reception to follow in McKenna Hall Room 112. The Institute will also host the Cross Cultural Leadership Internship Program Open House on Wednesday, January 25, 2012, at 5:30 pm in the Rosa Parks Room of Geddes Hall. For more information about these two events and others added over the holidays please visit or “like” us on Facebook: