The Tower Center and LatinoCLD Host National Conference, Release First Series of Policy Briefs

DALLAS, TX – The SMU Tower Center and Latino Center for Leadership and Development (LCLD) are hosting The Nation at a Crossroads: A National Latino Policy Conference on June 9 at the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

The conference is designed to highlight and stimulate discussion on the issues most pressing to the Latino community in Texas and the broader U.S. The six panels, comprised of a mix of national experts, state and municipal leadership, as well as local stakeholders, will explore solutions around the 2020 Census, redistricting, voter rights, immigration, unaccompanied minors, and U.S. – Mexico relations.

“This national conference comes at a critical crossroads in the nation’s history,” said Miguel Solis, President of the LCLD. “The growth of the Latino population will have short and long-term implications for the trajectory of America and it is essential that we bridge research, policy, and practice to meet the needs of the community in order to advance our country. This conference and these research grants aim to raise awareness about a policy path forward for stakeholders that intend on helping shape the nation’s destiny.”

This conference comes a year after the Tower Center-LCLD research partnership funded its first round of research grants. These grants have turned into actionable policy recommendations backed by the newly released research in order to help policymakers ensure they are making informed decisions when crafting policy. The initial findings from six projects have been published on SMU Scholar and have been converted into a series of one-page policy briefs complete with a “policy recommendation” section.

“This conference, along with the policy briefs, reinforces the commitment of our partnership to inform the public and our elected officials of critical issues for the Latino community,” said Luisa del Rosal, Executive Director of the SMU Tower Center. “In a nonpartisan way, we hope to forge a better path for Latinos.”

One example of the new research comes from Dr. Sophia Jordan Wallace and Dr. Chris Zepeda Millan who explored the question of whether or not Latinos still support immigrant rights activists. They found that Latinos who are born in the U.S. are less likely to support immigrant rights activism compared to Latinos born outside of the country. Other topics include civil rights on the border, the impact of detention on Latina immigrant women and children, and the treatment of unaccompanied minors at the border.

The Tower Center and LCLD are also bracing to announce the newest class of research grantees. The centers plan to fund seven projects ranging in focus from education, to healthcare and immigration policy.

“We are excited to see so many people doing important work on timely issues, and we look forward to reading their findings,” said Danielle Lemi, postdoctoral fellow at the SMU Tower Center.

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Karly Hanson

Karly Hanson is the Communications Coordinator for the SMU Tower Center. She graduated from SMU in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and international studies.