Development of Latino Organizations
Latinos in Maine have begun to develop social institutions to help them keep a strong sense of identity. The Latin Community Council of Maine and the Centro Latino of Maine are two organizations in Portland that strive to improve the quality of life for Latinos. For example, the Centro Latino publishes Mi Gente, a bilingual directory of Latino-owned businesses, Spanish-speaking service providers, and community events and activities relevant to the Latino community. The Latin Community Council sponsors the annual Dla de la Raza, a day for Latinos to connect with one another and enjoy Latino food, music, and dance. More importantly, these organizations provide Maine’s Latinos with opportunities to develop connections with the established community structures. From these connections, Maine’s Latinos are creating businesses and programs that highlight Latino contributions to the state.
The connections that have developed between Latinos and other Maine residents are important for the local community as well. The efforts of Maine’s Latino leaders call attention to the needs and resources of the Latino community. They also demonstrate the willingness of those leaders to work in collaboration with
Marchers participating in the opening ceremony to the 2007 Portland Soccer Championship. Courtesy of the Portland Public Health Commission Local institutions. For example, Portland’s Public Health Commission sponsors an annual soccer championship to promote Latino health outreach programs. This event draws people to participate in the soccer tournament and allows Latinos to celebrate their culture with a parade and Latino food and dance. The event is also an opportunity for the Public Health Commission to provide health promotion materials for the growing Latino population in the area.
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