MAGIC VALLEY — Hispanic leaders throughout the Magic Valley gathered last night to discuss some of the concerns they are seeing within the Hispanic and Latino community.
Education, unemployment, and not being informed on resources available to them were just some of the concerns brought up during the meeting.
The Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs says they are working towards addressing some of these issues.
“I think one of the biggest things I took away from here today is how they’re ready to be organized in a way that is more supportive of the community. They just need that help. If we could figure out a way to do that and be a catalyst for them to connect, I think we are going to be in great shape,” Juan Alvarez, Chairman of the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs, said.
Many voiced concerns about the need for more education surrounding resources available to parents, saying a majority of Latino parents are unaware of the help available to them.
“There are still issues in school districts where you have a large population of Hispanics, for example, kids in school, but you look at the school board, and there is no Hispanic representation. They’re not the leaders of the school system. They are not in full alignment with what the needs are for the community," Alvarez said.
ICHA says a big contributing factor to this issue is the cultural barrier and Latino parents thinking they don't have any rights.
“If they are first-generation here in the United States, for example, they just may not know their rights. My parents' view was the school takes care of us. They didn’t feel that they had a role to play. Well, that’s not the way the school system works in our country. We want the parents to be involved. We want them to ask," Alvarez said.
ICHA also heard concerns they were not aware of beforehand.
“For me, for example, mental health, which came in right at the end of the meeting it’s something that has not been flagged as a big issue. We talked about it before, but it’s always been on the periphery," Alvarez said.
With some of the concerns, ICHA says it's their goal to continue to educate the Hispanic and Latino community on resources available. But they also plan to continue to come up with more ways to address some of these issues and conduct more meetings.
“So you know it's an opportunity to listen to the community and see what they are having issues with and for us to figure out ok how do we better support them," Alvarez said.