On August 25, 2023, more than one hundred university and community Latinx-serving individuals attended the Latinx Community-University Coalition of Indiana’s 2023 Latinx Conference with the theme “Possibilities for our Future.”
The program featured a presentation on the history of Latina women in Indiana, an expert panel discussion, and the opportunity to dialogue with other Latinx community-serving organizations and researchers from universities across Indiana. This year’s theme, “Possibilities for Our Future,” was about efforts to address inequity in communities with a focus on post-COVID Latinx well-being and on youth. The conference took place at the University Tower Ballroom on the IUPUI campus.
The Latinx Community-University Coalition of Indiana aims to connect university faculty, students, and staff interested in research with Latinos with community organizations that serve this population. The ultimate purpose of the Coalition is to address equity and wellbeing across the state of Indiana through interdisciplinary collaborations for research and programmatic services aimed at improving the well-being of the Latino population in Indiana.
Planning Committee Members:
- Silvia M. Bigatti, Professor in the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI
- Monica A. Medina, Clinical Associate Professor in the IU School of Education at IUPUI
- Khaula Murtadha, Associate Vice Chancellor in the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement
- Silvia A. Garcia, Director of Research and Assessment in the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement
- Cindy Gil, Director of Latino Affairs in the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement
- Virna Diaz, Director of Latino Affairs at the Indiana Minority Health Coalition & Executive Director of the Latino Health Organization
- Teresa Sosa, Associate Professor, IU School of Education at IUPUI and Director of Equity Education in the IUPUI Office of Academic Affairs
Phaedra Corso, Associate Vice President for Research at Indiana University and Vice Chancellor for Research at IUPUI, discussed the research plans for IU Indianapolis and “Vision 2024.” IU Indianapolis plans to expand upon the research activities by increasing partnerships with the community.
Keynote speaker Nicole Martinez-Legrand, Multicultural Collections Curator at the Indiana Historical Society, presented about ‘Taking Pride in the History of Latinas in Indiana: Acknowledging the Extraordinary Contributions of These Remarkable Women.’ Nicole debuted new research about Latinas in Indiana history. She spoke about the history and complexity of the Latina identity in Indiana in US history, the perspective and the roots of the earlier Latino community, and Latinas that most may not know about.
Panelists: “Nurturing the Next Generation of Latinx Leaders”
A panel discussion was around the theme “Nurturing the Next Generation of Latinx Leaders.” Monica A. Medina served as the moderator.
- Karina Garduno, Director of the IUPUI Multicultural Center and DACA Primary Contact in the IUPUI Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- Alexis Gonzalez, Director of the Indiana Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs
- Susana Mariscal, Associate Professor at the IU School of Social Work at IUPUI
- Yecenia Tostado, Senior Program Officer at the Indiana Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust
- Francisco Valdiosera, Executive Director of the Monarca Academy
Some of the conclusions of the panel discussion included ways to support Latinx youth through collaboration, commitment, communication, and development. Mentoring and listening are essential in helping them feel heard and creating a safe space; furthermore, celebrating young people and giving them an opportunity to have a voice and a choice was highlighted.
The last activities on the agenda were two “Ignite” table conversations where the participants sat at tables of their choosing to discuss specific topics such as chronic disease, women’s health, higher ed, mental health, youth health, maternal and child health, K-12 education, and access to care. The aim was to create connections between community leaders and university researchers that may ‘ignite’ research ideas and collaborations.
The Latinx Community-University Research Coalition of Indiana is the result of a collaborative effort among community members and IUPUI faculty and staff with a vision of a thriving Latino community in the state through research, programmatic services, and other collaborations. When appropriate, the Coalition will train researchers in community-based research that is respectful of the needs and interests of the population.
The sponsors of the 2023 Latinx Conference include the IU Office of The Vice President for Research, IUPUI Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, IUPUI Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, IUPUI Office of Community Engagement, IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, IU School of Education at IUPUI, and the Indiana CTSI Community Health Engagement Program (CHEP).
For more information about the Latinx Community-University Research Coalition of Indiana, visit the webpage.