The Hispanic Leadership Council, established in 2006, is comprised of 30 volunteer member organizations representing government, education, human services and business in Pinellas County.
Maria Nieves Edmonds is the Chairperson.
The goal is to respond to the needs of the growing Hispanic/Latino community, and reduce and eliminate barriers. The five strategic priorities from 2006 – 2014 have been: Achievement Gap, English for Speakers of Other languages, Information and Advocacy, Access to Health Care, and Cultural Competency.
• “Embracing Our Changing Community: Today’s Modern Family” – an annual Conference promoting cultural competence and recognizing diversity. The 2015 Conference will be held Friday, July 29, 2016.
• Hispanic Summit: A major conference was held January 31, 2014, to assess the current needs and barriers experienced by the Hispanic community. From this conference, a new Strategic Plan is under construction for both the Hispanic Leadership Council and the InterCultural Advocacy Institute overall.
• ESOL: More than 20 DVD’s were produced and posted on YouTube, teaching practical English to adults in their own homes. Topics include Domestic Violence, Community Resources, The Police, Gardening in Pinellas, Human Trafficking, and others. This was a collaboration between Pinellas County Adult Education and Council member organizations. Please email us for a copy of the DVD’s.
• Advocacy: Council members worked closely with local elected officials pass In-State Tuition for certain undocumented students. Those students were paying as much as $1,000 per class (one semester) and will now pay in-state rates of approximately $300, like their high school peers. It puts higher education goals within reach for many qualified students. We strongly advocated for the Pinellas ordinance for unpaid wages successfully.
• Health Care: Health fairs, screening events and education seminars have been held to inform residents of services available, and eligibility requirements. A Health Navigator under the Affordable Care Act was located part time at the Hispanic Outreach Center to encourage enrollment for eligible people.