The newsletter of the ISBA’s Diversity Leadership Council
The United States Hispanic Leadership Institute
The United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI), a leading national Chicago-based nonprofit organization, has achieved national and international acclaim for its work in leadership development, promoting non-partisan civic engagement, research and as a principal source of information on Latino political demographics. The quality and quantity of its work has been validated at all levels including political, academia, and community.
Over 275,000 past, present and future leaders have participated in one or more of USHLI’s critically acclaimed leadership programs or events that include: a nine-week training program for grassroots community leaders and local public officials on how municipal, school and county governments work and how to make them work more effectively; a six-week public policy training program for college students, faculty, staff and administrators; a classroom-based civic education training program for high school students in grades 9-12 utilizing mayoral, gubernatorial and presidential election curricula; and a 21-hour candidate and campaign management school.
USHLI’s widely supported leadership development events include: career and college recruitment fairs for high school students; regional multi-state leadership conferences for college students; scholarships and paid internships through which students have earned nearly $1 million toward their education; and the largest Hispanic leadership conference in the nation (over 6,000 participants annually representing 40 states).
USHLI’s 30-year commitment to civic engagement has helped transform America’s political landscape. In partnership with other local and national groups, USHLI has helped organize, fund and conduct over 1,000 non-partisan voter registration campaigns. In 1989-1992, USHLI sponsored the longest sustained campaign in Illinois through which over 250,000 citizens registered to vote, mostly African Americans and Hispanics.
Since 1982, the year USHLI started its community empowerment work in Illinois, the number of Hispanics registered to vote has increased by a phenomenal 150%, growing from 82,000 to over 200,000. To put this amazing expansion of the Hispanic electorate into a proper historical perspective, it should be noted that a study of Hispanic voter registration by USHLI found that the net increase in Hispanic voter registration from 1976-1980 had been a paltry 17.
Also since 1982, the number of Hispanic registered voters in Illinois has increased from just over 200,000 to an estimated 385,000 in 2008.
A major key to USHLI’s success has been its model partnership with the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners, which has served to modernize the electoral process by de-centralizing voter registration, obtaining court-ordered changes in the voter canvassing process to reduce the incidence of wrongful purging of voters and doubling the number of voter re-instatement locations, and computerizing Hispanic voter identification by surname.
Also since 1982, the number of Hispanic elected officials in Chicago has increased exponentially from three to over 30 at all levels of government including city, county, the state legislature, congress, and the judiciary. A comparable number of Hispanic officials have been elected in suburban Cook County.
Since 2006 USHLI has registered over 100,000 new voters in the greater Chicagoland area, most of them newly empowered naturalized citizens. Nationally an estimated 2.2 million citizens have been registered to vote through USHLI-sponsored or -assisted nonpartisan campaigns.
USHLI has gained national prominence compiling a prolific record in its publication of more than 425 studies and reports on Hispanic political demographics. The reports profile targeted cities, counties and states throughout the nation. The Almanac of Latino Politics, USHLI’s flagship publication and considered “the Bible” of Latino politics, is published every two years and chronicles population growth, voter registration, and voter turnout since 1972.
The Almanac also analyzes the impact of the Latino vote in presidential and non-presidential elections, and profiles key congressional and state legislative districts in all 50 states.
USHLI’s work has been validated internationally more times than any other Hispanic organization in the nation, having been invited to participate in the democratization of Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and Haiti.
USHLI recently received the “Keepers of the American Dream” award for its work in empowering the immigrant community by registering newly naturalized citizens to vote.
USHLI President, Dr. Juan Andrade, has been awarded five honorary doctorates, which represent more academic validations received than any other Hispanic organization in the nation. ■