About Evanston Latinos

Prosperity And Progress Through The Preservation Of Our Cultural Treasures

Our community group works to strengthen the community, build bridges, and advocate for equity and inclusion for the Latinx community in Evanston. We have been meeting since the Spring of 2017 in an attempt to connect with the community. Our group is comprised of various leaders and members of the Latinx community who live and or work in Evanston and have a passion for helping this specific underrepresented community. As a group, we have explored barriers, strengths, needs and wants by hearing directly from the Latinx community in Evanston and their experiences

Economic Development

“La Cocina”

Community Kitchen Pilot 

Purpose 

The Evanston Community Kitchen will provide an affordable communal food preparation and packaging space for community members, allowing small business owners to grow their operations. This project will provide economic opportunities for community members in the Evanston area.

Market Analysis

Across the nation, community kitchens and culinary incubators have become hubs for aspiring business owners. The Evanston Community Kitchen will serve as a culinary incubator, primarily for the community across Evanston’s nine wards.

Our kitchen will benefit those who use it directly and those who enjoy products made in the kitchen within Evanston and beyond. The strong support from individuals expressing their excitement and the importance of a community kitchen fuels our determination.

How we support our Participants Support 

  • Website Development
  • IRS compliance 
  • Health Department compliance (Food handlers License, Licensed workspace, classes, financial education, co-op development) 

Funding

  • In addition to grants, we’re exploring various funding sources to support our growth and sustainability.
  • Donations From the Community (Donate Here)

Join us on this exciting journey as we create a vibrant community kitchen that empowers entrepreneurs, fuels local economies, and fosters culinary creativity!

Pandemic Response

In the Spring of  2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to accelerate it became clear that there needed to be an organization working to support and advocate for the Latinx community. Two months into the pandemic as the positivity rate for Latine residents hit 18.3% while Latine residents only make up 11.8% of the population, Evanston Latinos NFP was founded. At the time of its founding many community members were unable to find resources in Spanish to help them understand the terrifying unfolding events and the oftentimes strict requirements to apply for assistance. To find support and access resources, many Latine residents resorted to Evanston Latinos in search of information, resources, and assistance. Events and programs during this time:

Health and Wellness Promoters

In the Fall of 2021 in partnership with YWCA Evanston/North Shore worked to identify the key relationships needed to strategically cultivate and expand to ensure immigrant survivors have access to a full array of critical services. We consulted on outreach strategy development by developing and advising on relevant public awareness content, scheduling presentations to immigrant communities, co-facilitating with YWCA staff at awareness events, and recruiting and assisting YWCA staff in preparing immigrant community advocates to raise awareness around domestic violence and sexual assault and encourage victims to seek help and assist them in connecting with YWCA services. We recruited 10 immigrant community members to be trained as community advocates. We also facilitated a 4-week paid program and additional focus groups with community members to better understand the community’s needs and barriers. The first cohort we refer to as ‘Promotoras.’ Promotoras are community (female-identifying) members who receive specialized training to provide basic health education in the community without being a professional healthcare worker following the community health worker model.

Mental Health Taskforce

In partnership with the Mental Health Taskforce, Ascension Hospital, and the Evanston Public Library we hosted online meetings offering a space to talk about how we feel, offer support, and learn about mental health resources.

Racial Equity

With the support of an Evanston Community Foundation Innovation grant we engaged community through storytelling and the facilitation of racial healing circles over a 6-month period. The healing circles used the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) model and facilitators to explore, reconcile and move forward on our path to wholeness in Evanston.

Cultural Arts Preservation

In the Fall of 2021 in partnership with YWCA Evanston/North Shore worked to identify the key relationships needed to strategically cultivate and expand to ensure immigrant survivors have access to a full array of critical services. We consulted on outreach strategy development by developing and advising on relevant public awareness content, scheduling presentations to immigrant communities, co-facilitating with YWCA staff at awareness events, and recruiting and assisting YWCA staff in preparing immigrant community advocates to raise awareness around domestic violence and sexual assault and encourage victims to seek help and assist them in connecting with YWCA services. We recruited 10 immigrant community members to be trained as community advocates. We also facilitated a 4-week paid program and additional focus groups with community members to better understand the community’s needs and barriers. The first cohort we refer to as ‘Promotoras.’ Promotoras are community (female-identifying) members who receive specialized training to provide basic health education in the community without being a professional healthcare worker following the community health worker model.

Housing

Selected by Joining Forces for Affordable Housing our Promotoras assisted in carrying out the Equitable Zoning Project to identify the impacts of Evanston’s current zoning code on residents’ ability to access housing that is equitable and affordable. They conducted almost 100 interviews for this project. 

Cafecitos

With the support of the Evanston Community Foundation and the Evanston Public Library, we hosted 6 community gatherings we called ‘Cafecitos’ (little coffees in Spanish). These gatherings located at the library served coffee and started with the sharing of stories from participants about what brought them to Evanston, their experiences, and their hopes for the future. The meetings evolved to information sharing with guests asking to learn more about Evanston, its history, services available, and getting to know their neighbors. We invited speakers to join us based on requests from our attendees which included Evanston Police Department Latino Liaison- Cesar Galindo, City of Evanston, Parking Manager, Mike Rivera, Evanston Fire Department Chief- Paul Polep, and Chief of Police – Schenita Stewart

Many community members have asked about future Cafecitos, and we are looking for ways to bring them back, stay tuned.

Early Childhood Teacher Pipeline

In partnership with the Evanston Early Childhood Council, the City of Evanston, Evanston Community Foundation, Cradle to Career, and Oakton College, we launch the first bilingual early childhood teacher cohort with 15 participants to address the early childhood teacher shortage while providing English as a second language education. The program’s instructor is Professor Dr. Norma S. Guzmán who is bilingual and bicultural. It’s been a great start, and we couldn’t be happier with the results! The program is free and comes with a $1,000 stipend. We are excited to meet this workforce development need while providing high-quality teachers to educate our youngest students and personal and professional development.

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