Roberto Valdez Jr.: Elevating Voices

IL Latino News


Advocating for the rights and interests of the Hispanic-Latino community takes a village. Fostering partnerships creates a united front to address challenges and achieve sustainable solutions. 

Few organizations, like the Hispanic Federation, have been at the forefront of addressing issues ensuring that the voices of the community are heard and represented.

Founded in 1990, the nonprofit membership organization, seeks to empower and advance the Hispanic community, support Hispanic families, and strengthen Latino institutions through work in educationhealthimmigrationcivic engagementeconomic empowerment, and the environment.

Roberto Valdez Jr., Midwest Director for Policy at the Hispanic Federation was a guest on the program “3 Questions With…” hosted by Hugo Balta, publisher of IL Latino News.

The Hispanic Federation boasts its effectiveness lies in its depth of relationships with Latino communities and strength of connection with grasstops and grassroots stakeholders. “Our goal is to connect with partner and member organizations to elevate their voices,” said Valdez. “We also work in programming, capacity, and coalition building all with the center of community.”

Partnerships with organizations embedded in their communities are essential to the Hispanic Federation fulfilling its mission. “The value that collaboration brings is the expertise and the insight (of) these leaders who have been doing the work for decades,” Valdez said about the value they (community leaders) bring to the conversation with elected officials and representatives in telling the true stories of the issues and the victories happening in the community.

Recently the Hispanic Federation announced that it is expanding its partnership with Comcast NBCUniversal Telemundo to advance digital equity and skills building within Latino communities across the country. It will receive a $2.5 million investment from Comcast over two years to offer internet access and digital skills training to 10,000 Latino students and jobseekers. Valdez shared that the initiative aims to enhance career prospects and promote economic mobility within the community, “The uniqueness of these programs are that the training is tailored to what local employers are looking for (job responsibilities/positions).

Valdez’s mother was born in Nogales, Mexico and his father was born in Nogales, Arizona. “When I say I grew up on both sides of the border, it really is that, ” reminisced Valdez about how much more commonalities (than differences) communities that are separated by a border share.

Valdez was born in Yuma, Arizona, and grew up in Nogales, Arizona. “Understanding the connection between those two communities really fostered my way of community and connecting with folks from both sides of the border,” he said.

“3 Questions With…” is co-produced by the Latino News Network (LNN) and CAN TV, Chicago’s hub for community-centric news, hyperlocal stories, and educational resources.

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