Plus Three Sponsoring Half-Day Training Session for Nonprofits at Hispanicize 2012
Posted on 04/06/2012 @ 12:00 PM
American Latino Museum will be the Featured Case Study on Non-Profit Social Media Innovation led by Plus Three Co-Founder, Juan Proaño
WASHINGTON, DC — The Friends of the American Latino Museum, a 501(c)(3) created to support the American Latino Museum initiative, has joined as a sponsor in presenting the 3rd annual convening of Hispanicize 2012. The yearly gathering, held this year at Miami’s JW Marriot Marquis from April 10-13, will bring together Latino trendsetters and newsmakers in social media, marketing, entertainment and innovation. The events will include a half day training session for nonprofits co-sponsored by Univision and Plus Three, a leading website and social media company that with The Raben Group currently directs the social media strategy for the Friends.
Juan Proaño, Co-Founder of Plus Three and website designer for the Friends, will lead a panel during the Latino Social Media for Social Good Half-Day Training session. The panel is entitled: “The Ultimate Guide for Non-Profit Organizations Serving Hispanic & Multicultural Communities,” and it will examine as a case study the Friends’ remarkable success in social media outreach. On March 22, the Friends announced that it had surpasses 100,000 followers on Twitter and had accumulated 70,000 fans on Facebook and 67,000 supporters through its website, bringing its total reach to over 237,000 supporters. Current supporters surpass 240,000.
The intensive half-day session, held on April 10 from 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, will be hosted exclusively for non-profit organizations, and is provided free of charge for the first 100 nonprofits that register. The session will explore how communications can help non-profit organizations serving Latino and multicultural communities maximize their use of public relations and social media. The training will have a deep focus on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other popular outlets.
Panelists include: Estuardo Rodriguez, Principal at The Raben Group and Friends Staff; Patricia Perez, Principal, VPE Public Relations; Eva Smith, Partner, Latina Mom Bloggers; Audrey Ponzio,Senior Vice President, Edelman Multicultural; and Juan Proaño, Co-Founder of Plus Three and the Friends website designer.
As a Plus Three client, Immigration Equality Action Fund leverages our advocacy and fundraising tools to garner support for equality under U.S. immigration law for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and HIV-positive individuals.
Read more about the work Immigation Equality does in Julia Preston's article in The New York Times below.
Noncitizens Sue Over U.S. Gay Marriage Ban
Apr 2, 2012
Five legally married same-sex couples filed a lawsuit on Monday to challenge the 1996 law that bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, arguing that its impact is particularly harsh on couples that include an American citizen and a foreigner.
The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, was brought by Immigration Equality, a gay rights legal organization that focuses on immigration issues. Same-sex marriage advocates said it was likely to become the most prominent suit seeking to overturn the law, known as the Defense of Marriage Act, based on its effect on gay or lesbian immigrants who want to gain legal residence through marriage to American citizens.
Under immigration law, a citizen can apply for a foreign spouse to obtain legal permanent residency, with a document known as a green card. Since unlike many other visas, there are no limits on the number of green cards available to spouses of citizens, those applications are among the fastest and most straightforward procedures in the immigration system.
Under the marriage act, which is called DOMA, federal authorities do not recognize same-sex marriages, even from states that allow them. In recent years, as same-sex marriage became legal in several states, gay and lesbian couples have come forward to say they were facing a painful choice: either deportation for the immigrant or exile to life in a foreign country for the American.
“I’m a citizen of this country just like anybody else,” said Heather Morgan, 36, a plaintiff in the lawsuit together with her spouse, María del Mar Verdugo Yañez, 42, who is from Spain. After a 13-year friendship that evolved into a romance, the couple was married in August 2011 in New York City, where they live.
“I’m very proud of this country,” Ms. Morgan said in an interview. “I don’t want to feel like I have to leave here in order to be with the person I love. I shouldn’t have to choose.”
Rachel B. Tiven, the executive director of Immigration Equality, said the group tried during the past year to persuade the federal government to put a hold on consideration of green card applications from same-sex couples, while several challenges to the marriage act made their way through the courts. But federal authorities did not agree to the hold and had continued to deny the applications, she said, prompting the group to proceed with the lawsuit.
In February 2011, the Obama administration announced that it regarded the central provision of the marriage act as unconstitutionally discriminatory, and said officials would no longer defend it in the courts.
On Wednesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston will hear arguments in the first marriage act case to advance to the appeals level. That case contends that the act is unconstitutional because it denies federal benefits to same-sex couples married in Massachusetts, the first state to make same-sex marriage legal.
Justice Department officials have said that they will not defend the core provision of the marriage act in that hearing, but will dispute other claims in the case. A conservative legal group appointed by the House of Representatives will argue in favor of the act.
Amid legal jargon, the unusual complaint filed Monday recounts five love stories, describing people who married after years of courtship. Most of the immigrants have been here legally on temporary visas that will soon expire.
Ms. Morgan said she and Ms. Verdugo would like to raise children. “But we live every day with the uncertainty that we will be separated because the government didn’t recognize that we are a family,” she said.
Friends of the American Latino Museum Surpasses 100,000 Followers on Its @LatinoMuseum Twitter Account
Posted on 03/22/2012 @ 09:30 AM
Led by the web-based technology and social media leaders at Plus Three, the Friends of the American Latino Museum continue to lead among museum related social media sites
Washington, DC – The Friends of the American Latino (Friends), a 501(c)3 created to support the American Latino Museum initiative, surpassed 100,000 followers on Twitter and has accumulated 70,000 Fans on Facebook, 67,000 through its website, bringing its total reach to over 237,000 supporters. A renewed energy and hope for the museum is increasing rapidly since the introduction of the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act earlier this year in the House and Senate. The Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act would designate and hold the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building as the official site for the museum.
"The history of Latinos is woven into American history going back to a time before the first pilgrim ever set foot on this land," said Emilio Estefan, Commissioner, National Museum of the American Latino Commission and President of Estefan Enterprises. "This is the story we want to tell. These are the gaps in American history that we are trying to fill, so that all Americans have a better understanding of our shared history and legacy. It is wonderful to know, through our social media efforts, that there are thousands that support our telling this story."
The museum would be devoted to the preservation, presentation, and interpretation of American Latino art, cultural expressions, and experiences. It would take its place among the treasury of museums within the Smithsonian Institution and would establish a new model in its integration of programs, training, research and personnel within the family of Smithsonian museums. The goal of Friends is to create a museum truly national in operational scope as well as prominent in Washington to educate the public and support the Latino community.
“It is amazing and heartening how much support this museum is getting from across the country. It shows how important it is for us to share all of the important and, many times, untold stories of the history of Latinos in building this great nation,” stated Maria Cardona, Friends Board Member and CNN Contributor. “The public is excited about the progress of the American Latino Museum initiative, and now that support can be seen in our 100,000 followers on Twitter and over 70,000 on Facebook. All supporters of the museum should join with us in asking Congress to pass the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act now.”
“Latinos are using social media to stay connected to family, friends, and their cultural identity. Through Facebook and Twitter Friends has immediate access to one of the largest Latino communities online in the country. Friends is redefining what a successful media strategy looks like for a diverse audience.” stated Juan Proaño, President and Co-Founder, Plus Three.
The Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act was introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and has been co-sponsored by 17 other Senators including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) also introduced the bill in the House. In addition to growing public support through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, celebrities such as Eva Longoria and Emilio Estefan have lead efforts to pass the bill.
Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino (www.americanlatinomuseum.org) Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, Inc., a 501(c)(3) incorporated in Washington, D.C., strives to create a museum in our nation’s capital to educate, inspire and encourage respect and understanding of the richness and diversity of the American Latino experience within the U.S. and its territories by highlighting the contributions made by Latino leaders, pioneers and communities to the American way of life.
The Corporation for Enterprise Development is a national nonprofit dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for low-income families and communities. CFED uses a “think-do-invest” approach grounded in community practice, public policy and private markets at the local, state and federal levels to create economic opportunity that alleviates poverty.
As a Plus Three client, CFED uses our technology to manage multiple websites to expand the national dialogue on poverty, conduct & disseminate research and policy analysis, and train field staff on policy and advocacy strategies. Sites include:
- The Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, a leading source of data for advocacy work, and
- Join Bank On, where individuals, families and partners to come together and improve the financial futures of un/der banked individuals and families
Read more about the context in which CFED works in Alexander Eichler's article in The Huffington Post below.
Working Poor: Almost Half Of U.S. Households Live One Crisis From The Bread Line
Jan 31, 2012
What does it mean to be poor?
If it means living at or below the poverty line, then 15 percent of Americans -- some 46 million people -- qualify. But if it means living with a decent income and hardly any savings -- so that one piece of bad luck, one major financial blow, could land you in serious, lasting trouble -- then it's a much larger number. In fact, it's almost half the country.
"The resources that people have -- they are using up those resources," said Jennifer Brooks, director of state and local policy at the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group. "They're living off their savings. They're at the end of their rope."
The group issued a report today examining so-called liquid asset poverty households -- the people who aren't living below the poverty line, but don't have enough money saved to weather a significant emergency.
According to the report, 43 percent of households in America -- some 127.5 million people -- are liquid-asset poor. If one of these households experiences a sudden loss of income, caused, for example, by a layoff or a medical emergency, it will fall below the poverty line within three months. People in these households simply don't have enough cash to make it for very long in a crisis.
The findings underscore the struggles of many Americans during what has often seemed like an economic recovery in name only. While the Great Recession officially ended more than two years ago, unemployment remains high and wages have barely budged for most workers. For more people, whether they draw a paycheck or not, a life free of deprivation and financial anxiety seems perpetually out of reach.
That's not to say that everyone who is liquid-asset poor spends all their time fretting. On the contrary, because many have regular paychecks coming in, they may not grasp the precariousness of their situation.
"They don't necessarily realize how close people can be to one interruption to income or one interruption to health benefits," said David Rothstein, the project director for asset building at the non-profit Policy Matters Ohio. "They're one paycheck away from being in debt."
Rothstein, who also serves on a steering committee at the Corporation for Enterprise Development, told The Huffington Post that payday lenders -- who loan money to desperate borrowers at high interest rates, drawing people into hard-to-escape cycles of debt -- are "a huge problem" in Ohio, as in many other states. People often turn to payday lenders to cover one-time, unexpected expenses, but can end up in a long and costly relationship.
"People say things like, it's just one mechanical problem with their car," said Rothstein. Before they know it, he said, "every other week, they're back at the payday lending shop."
The Corporation for Enterprise Development findings echo other recent studies showing that many Americans are ill-prepared for financial emergencies. Analysts said the reasons include flat wages, the high cost of medical treatment and the nationwide drop in housing values leaving homeowners with less wealth than they believed they had.
Andrea Levere, the president of Corporation for Enterprise Development, told HuffPost that greater financial literacy might have helped prevent the current situation.
People can "graduate high school and not know how to write a check," Levere said, adding that an increased emphasis on personal responsibility for budgeting and spending should be an important part of any step forward.
At the same time, Corporation for Enterprise Development officials were quick to argue that public policy needs to address the scope of the problem. Levere cited the example of asset limits in public benefit programs, which restrict services like food assistance and public health insurance to households with few or no assets -- a policy that critics say denies help to many people in need.
"In some cases," said Levere, "it means they can't even own a car that is in good enough shape to get them to work."
Brooks agreed. "A family that loses its job, that was maybe solidly middle class, in a state where they have restrictive asset tests, is going to have to liquidate all their assets, all their savings for the future" in order to qualify for benefits.
The report maintains that there are a number of measures that could alleviate liquid asset poverty, from strengthening consumer protections against payday lenders to making greater assistance available to first-time homebuyers. Levere said even minor policy adjustments could have "revolutionary implications."
"There's a lot of ways forward. It doesn't mean it's not tough," Levere said. "I'm a great believer in one step at a time."
USHLI's Project SED Will Spark a New Generation of Voters
Dec 14, 2011
Project SED already is offered to high school students, but in this new phase, students will learn civic education via social media.
"Now, students everywhere will be able to become involved in the democratic process through Project SED, which includes an instructional curriculum, a mock election and the option to register to vote," said USHLI President Juan Andrade Jr. "This is arguably the most challenging, exciting and innovative initiative I have been involved in, in my 40 years of promoting civic education and participation.
"While USHLI will continue registering voters in more traditional ways, we are mindful of the fact that with an estimated 50,000 Latinos turning 18 years of age every month we must learn to utilize technology to create ways to effectively reach, educate and empower more people in less time," Andrade continued. "To that end, in addition to an interactive curriculum that will make civic education fun and engaging, Project SED incorporates multi social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. We are putting electoral power into the hands of students -- literally -- through mechanisms such as smartphones, cell phones, PDA's and laptop computers."
Likening the project to a "virtual classroom," USHLI aims to reach 1.5 million students in 2012.
Through a partnering with the technology company Plus Three, Project SED is expected to launch in time for the 2012 Iowa Caucusus, scheduled for Jan. 3.
"Yes, we are ambitious," said Juan Proaño, president and co-founder of Plus Three. "Dr. Andrade came to me with a 10-year plan that would benefit the future of the Latino community -- this rarely happens. I am enthusiastic about this project because it's selfless."
Project SED welcomes the participation of nonpartisan groups, the education community and students of all grades and ages, according to a news release.
"This is about community and civic engagement," Andrade said. "Organizations such as the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers agree that we must continue to encourage our youth to become and stay active within their communities, and political engagement is one great way."
USHLI is a Chicago-based national nonprofit tax-exempt organization that was incorporated in 1982. Initially known as the Midwest Voter Registration Education Project, it changed its name in 1996. Its mission is to promote civic engagement, social integration, research, leadership development, redistricting and financial literacy.