A new report says 8.5 percent of Council Bluffs’ population is Latino, and that population generates more than a billion dollars in economic output.
But the city’s Latino population feels as though they don’t have a voice in the community or in leadership positions. That’s according to the report from UNO’s Office of Latino/Latin American Studies and the Iowa West Foundation. The report is based on Census data, and interviews with more than two dozen Latino residents.
OLLAS director Lourdes Gouveia says the report’s title, “Invisible and Voiceless,” says a lot about the key findings.
"In places like Council Bluffs, where they also bring an enormous economic contribution, they are basically invisible. They are nowhere to be found in civic organizations, as leaders, as managers, there’s hardly any organization or institution that is friendly enough, bilingual enough, bicultural or multicultural enough to provide the kind of environment where Latinos can thrive."
The report makes several recommendations. One is to make GED classes available in Spanish. Another is to connect Latino professionals in Omaha with those in Council Bluffs. The report also calls for development of Latino-led organizations and leadership in Council Bluffs.
The full report is available at www.unomaha.edu/ollas.