One of the difficulties of being in the Midwest is that there are few Latinos being part of the decision making process. It has been puzzling to see how the moneys destined to ‘assist’ Hispanics are usually managed by non-Hispanics.

I still do not understand how the assessment of needs and guidelines for action in many cases are done away from the people who are need of the assistance. I am trying to learn this process, because I think many Latinos like me would like to be of service to our community, and therefore to the community at large.

It is this difficult for me to understand how many of the bilingual people hired in certain positions are not bicultural; therefore is difficult for them to understand who they are addressing.

Maybe the Latinos are not participating because they have not been invited, or could it be that they do not feel part of the community at large? I am not judging what has been done, I am only saying that it is about time that some of the Latinos start participating.

Some of the places I have been hearing from is for example La Casa de Amistad in South Bend, who is giving direction to the place? Who does the hiring and what is the Latino image that is being portrayed through the organization? Many people have contributed and supported that effort, but my question is: Who has been directing La Casa all these years? What interests are behind the effort?

In the same token there have also been questions about a 10 million dollar grant to the Elkhart and LaGrange Community Foundations. The grant has been running for the past one year and seven months under the name of Learning Generation Initiative, yet most of the Latino people who should be benefiting from it in Elkhart County know nothing about the money or operation of the grant. Also the individuals and organizations that work directly with the people, do not have a clear picture so far of what the outcome of this grant ought to be. There are no Latinos in their board, that could ‘interpret’ about this situation.

I encourage the people to find out about the organizations that work for Latinos and be there for them more than for the receptions, open houses and folkloric encounters. The Latinos in this area are much more than folklore. They represent an increasing number of people that are economic and socially active in the community. Here are plenty of educated people and others who have been educated by life.

I think the community deserves to know what is happening. It is a great civic task to know about life in your surroundings. If we make it a way of life, maybe others will not have later on the opportunity to engage our lives in unwanted actions that go from taxes to war. So, Start asking questions, engage yourselves in dialogue and be part of the solutions.