The Iowa Latino Alliance and will be made up entirely of volunteers seeking to improve the lives of the state’s Latinos. This formal, statewide entity has not existed before.
Caleb Knutson, chair of the Commission of Latino Affairs, says this new alliance is different from the commission, since it is not run through a government department and members do not need to be approved by the governor.
“It boils down to representation, again,” Knutson says, “and I think that that’s the drum that I will continue to beat day in and day out is representation.” Knutson says since the commission is at a “stalemate” to add new members, the alliance will likely be able to move forward more quickly in its endeavors.
Sonia Reyes, director of the Office of Latino Affairs, says a statewide Latino advocacy group like this is a first. It started out as an idea that stemmed from the creation of the Linea de Ayuda, the Spanish helpline. Reyes says the helpline volunteers didn’t want to stop their work, so they decided to create a formal entity.
Reyes says, “So it came out of the need for us to work together and to have a united effort.” A firm date isn’t set for the group to begin its work, but it’s expected to start sometime in June.
(By Kassidy Arena, Iowa Public Radio)