Goshen College’s Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning (CITL), in collaboration with Notre Dame’s Institute of Latino Studies, presented the results of their historic research on at a news conference Friday March 25. The results, recorded in a three-volume report, provided a look into the Latino population of Northern Indiana.
The first report examines an increase in the Latino population in the early 1990s, particularly focusing on the demographic profile in St. Joseph, Noble and Elkhart counties of Indiana. The second report focuses on the historical account of the settlement and adjustments that Latino immigrant families had to go through. The third report provides an assessment of the education experiences of these Latino students and their parents, including recommendations for the future.
“This aims to tell the personal stories of people in these areas and their settlement experiences. They shared their stories, their struggles, their fears and their concerns,” said Rebecca Hernandez, the director of CITL.
This cutting-edge report shows how the Latino population has integrated into the community here, how it impacts the economy and how it is impacted by immigration.
“Latinos make up 16 percent of the U.S. population, 6 percent of Indiana’s population, 14 percent of Elkhart’s and 28 percent of the city of Goshen’s, again emphasizing the growing diversity in our communities” said President Jim Brenneman at Friday's news conference .
Brenneman hopes that this project gives voices to people who contribute greatly to local communities.
“This project was a part of CITL’s Lilly Endowment Funds, which included scholarships for Latino students, building infrastructure, starting the Domestic S.S.T. and assessing the impact on recruitment and retention process,” said Anita Stalter, the academic dean.
CITL and Notre Dame hope to continue their research in the future.
“This is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Hernandez.
These are working documents, and the recommendations in the third report and further initiatives will only open more opportunity and understanding of these changing demographics.
"They [Latinos] are Hoosiers," said Allert Brown-Gort of ND’s Institute for Latino Studies,"This is their home. This is where they are going to be. We cannot do well unless they do well."