WALLA WALLA, Wash.—Whitman College’s State of the State for Washington Latinos project, created by Professor Paul Apostolidis as a politics seminar, has been awarded a Learn & Serve America innovation grant. It was one of only 10 awards made nationwide this year from 100 applications.

 Founded in 2005, the State of the State for Washington Latinos project has resulted in two comprehensive reports on social conditions of Washington’s Latino population that have garnered the attention of Washington reporters, legislators, and Latino activists. For an overview, go to http://www.walatinos.org/index.cfm.

 “Although Latinos are the fastest growing minority group in Washington, their levels of political representation are extremely low,” said Apostolidis. “Consequently, opportunities to apply the resources of public policy to address their distinctive social problems are not as actively pursued as they might otherwise be.” The 2005 and 2006 State of the State for Washington Latinos documents remain the only broadly inclusive report on social and political conditions for Hispanics, who find their numbers increasing just as the inequalities they face on social, economic, education and political fronts increase. Some 2006 topics students explored with the guidance of their community partners in the Walla Walla Latino-American Forum were: political representation, homeownership, domestic violence, community-based health programs, access to higher education, quality of preschool experiences and academic achievement in Latino youth.

 The grant—$15,000 over two years, plus a matching grant of $7,500 from Whitman—will allow the research seminar to continue to address and communicate the policies affecting Latinos, but will also make it possible to expand into new issue areas, develop benchmark indicators, extend its network of community partners and cultivate ties with other campuses interested in community-based research projects, said Apostolidis.

 In receiving this grant, Whitman joins the National CBR Networking Initiative, a network of community-based research practitioners funded by Learn & Serve America and spearheaded by Princeton University and the Bonner Foundation. This initiative is coordinated by Princeton University’s Community-based Learning Initiative and will generate a range of best-practice tools and resources that will be of value to students, faculty members and communities in the future.



CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156
E-mail: parishlj@whitman.edu