Latinos are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States. By 2060, one third of the population will identify as Latino. This means that many areas of the United States that never had significant Latino populations in the past will have them soon— which leads me to ponder how we can foster community development. How do we cultivate our culture in places that have no historical context for us?
I live in Pittsburgh, so I’ll use that as my main example. Using digital platforms, in-person events, marketing and smart partnerships, you can 1) Increase the visibility and connectivity of the Pittsburgh Latino community 2) Offer marketing and translating services to businesses and nonprofits, in order to help them build authentic relationships with Latino consumers 3) Educate the general population on who Latinos are, and what are some of our common characteristics. Based on my own experiences of “what has worked,” below are recommendations for how to build a Latino community without historical precedent.
Use Data to Learn About The Hispanic or Latino Community in Your City
The first step to building anything right is to understand what, and for whom, you are building. Take a survey of the Latino population in your area—where do they live, work, and shop? What are their interests? Are they bilingual or monolingual? Survey Monkey is a great free tool, that can be shared easily through social media. To reach people who do not have access to social media, create a paper survey to pass out at events. Make sure that you confirm the person has not taken the online survey before handing them a paper survey, so you do not get information from the same person twice (we want to avoid voter fraud)!