4251.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - 4:30 PM

Abstract #13567

Community building as a means to increase viability and voice for Latinos in North Carolina

Mary Kate Appicelli, MPH, c/o UNC-CH School of Public Health, Department of Health Education and Health Behavior, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB # 7400, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400, 404-486-7287, applecelery@mindspring.com

In the last ten years, the Latino population in North Carolina has increased over 300 percent. This rapid growth raises issues ranging from immigration and documentation to a shortage of interpreters for social services. Latino and non-Latino advocates have worked to fill in the gaps and to increase awareness of the issues among the public and government. Until recently, a formal mechanism for communicating Latino issues to state-level officials did not exist. In June 1998, Governor Jim Hunt established an Executive Order that initiated a Governor's Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs.

For the period 1994-1998, this study examined the community organizing and building strategies of Latino advocates in North Carolina; uncovered how these strategies and other factors led to the formation of the Council; and provided recommendations for other populations of color and special interest groups seeking to advocate on the state level.

Fifteen interviews with key Latino and non-Latino community and government leaders were conducted. Other sources utilized included field notes, newspaper articles, and state government documents.

Predisposing, facilitating, and precipitating factors created a "critical mass" that most likely instigated the formation of the Council. This critical mass was shaped by Latinos who implemented multicultural organizing and community building strategies to form advocacy groups, celebrate and share their cultural diversity, build relationships with key decision makers, and communicate their needs to government. Media coverage of Latinos, a significant contribution to the economy, Latino voting power, and the Governor's desire to assist an emerging population also shaped the "critical mass."

Learning Objectives: 1. Describe four ways Latino advocates increased the viability of their community. 2. Articulate the factors that contributed to the "critical mass" which precipitated the formation of the Governor's Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs. 3. Describe the impact of four multicultural organizing and community-building lessons learned on health education practice. 4. Identify five recommendations for other populations of color or special interest groups interested in advocating on the state level

Keywords: Community Building, Latino

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA