The Great Cities Institute has poured research into Latino communities with reports spanning the impact of COVID to gentrification.
So, it seemed natural to put their efforts together to create the Latino Research Initiative.
The goal is to become a data hub for community groups, policy-makers and others.
“We can produce the kind of research that can be used to help identify the needs of not only a growing population, but a diverse population,” said Teresa Córdova, director of the Great Cities Institute with the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Juan González, senior research fellow at the Great Cities Institute and co-host of “Democracy Now!,” said he sees one potential area for research in public schools. Specifically in the suburbs, he said, where the Latino student population is greatly increasing.
It brings into question what types of services are being provided to these students or what the leadership of the school system looks like, he added.
“We don’t have sufficient data to be able to explain how we are as a community, as a society, dealing with this explosive growth of the Latino population,” González said.
What makes this research initiative special is that it works alongside community groups and not in “ivory towers” as a university may sometimes operate, he said.
The institute has conducted research alongside Mujeres Latinas en Acción for a report on gender-based violence and Healthy Communities Foundation on a framework for sustainable freshwater supplies
“It’s critical to arm the community with the kind of information they need to effectively change policy,” González said.