Latino Literacy Now, a 501(c)(3) not for profi t organization, was founded to promote literacy in the community in all forms: educational, financial, reading, health, and community awareness. Since 1997, when Edward James Olmos and Kirk Whisler co-founded Latino Literacy Now, over a million people have been impacted by our organization’s five program areas:
Latino Book & Family Festivals
Content Development Programs
In addition to the 2,171 authors and publishers honored by the Int’l Latino Book Awards since 1998 there’s Latino Books into Movies Awards (since 2010) that has honored 89 books as appropriate for being made into a TV show or movie in 16 different categories. The are judged by directors, producers, screenwriters, and other entertainment professionals. Projects in the entertainment industry tend to take a long time and we are confident that more than a few of these books will end up as a movie or TV show from all the feedback we’ve had.
Our first festival was celebrated in 1997, and 60 Festivals have been held since then in eight markets around the USA. Festivals have been held in: Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Bernardino, and San Diego. Combined attendance is 900,000+.
Our Latino & American Indian Scholarship Directory efforts, begun in 1996, have been used by nearly 200,000 students, educators, and organizations. Changing the Face of Education is a new program addressing the dramatic under representation of Latinos within the teaching profession. One goal is for schools in California to hire a minimum of 50,000 Latino educators in the next decade.
The goal of Education Begins in the Home, founded in 2015, is to: Improve the literacy level of ALL elementary school-aged youth in North County San Diego (with a focus on Latino youth) by providing FREE books. Our emphasis on elementary-aged students is a result of studies showing that reading at the 3rd-4th grade level is key to success in school.
In 2015 we created the fast growing Int’l Society of Latino Authors. In 1980 less than 500 books were published in the USA with a Latino author. This year Latinos will publish 25,000 to 30,000 books. After decades of being on the fringe of mainstream publishing, we strongly feel that the time has come for books by and about Latinos to finally get the attention that we deserve. The fastest way for this to happen is for us to work together and present a united front. See pages 7-8 on how to get involved in ISLA & save. We have had our Award Winning Author booths at 37 different Book Industry, Education, Latino community, and overall community events since we started the Award Winning Author Tour in 2013. Over 500 authors have participated with their books.
With Latino Reads we started in 2016 a weekly podcast series featuring interviews with Award Winning Authors from the Int’l Latino Book Awards. Finally in the 21st Century the DIVERSITY of the United States is being seen for the strength it brings to our country. The Empowering Speakers Bureau brings companies, events, schools and libraries easy access to unique voices, quality personalities, experts in their field, inspiring authors, and caring leaders.