Literacy, higher education, personal finances, and preventive health care might seem like common topics to hear from most people but that is not the reality. Sadly, culturally Latinos don’t cultivate the development on these areas Low education within older generations, language barriers, and the lack of knowledge about financial advisors are contributors for that, but empowerment through resources is what our organization wants.

Bringing the right resources to the Latino community is what Empowering Latino Futures seeks to do with The Latino Book & Family Festivals. This program focuses on areas of reading, education, finances, arts, and health. Since the festival program was founded in 1997, the focus has been on providing exhibitors and literacy workshops that include: civic literacy such as awareness of citizenship rights; cultural literacy, including the arts; educational literacy, sharing all types of education opportunities; financial literacy, for example, how to buy a house; health literacy where we always have clinics and service providers offering free exams; and overall literacy and the opportunity to meet dozens of authors.

Latinos are a very diverse group segmented by country of origin, time in the USA, language usage, and traditions. According to the U.S. Census, as of 2019 there were 60.6 million Hispanics/Latinos in the United States, encompassing 18 percent of the nation’s total population and making them the nation’s largest ethnic or racial group.

Today, the key focus is targeting the emerging needs, bringing resources together, and reaching families virtually. With our virtual events, we have been able to reach nationwide audiences which opens new doors to the remote communities we couldn’t reach before. Every individual should know what resources are available; however, not every individual knows how to communicate their needs or research the right opportunities. Helping families learn about the services available in their community is one of our goals. This increases confidence and creates trust when accessing these resources

Up to date, 68 Latino Book & Family Festivals have been held in eight markets around the USA including: Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Bernardino and San Diego with combined attendance of more than 900,000. The 2020 Festival became a fully virtual event, a two-month effort to provide more than 12 hours of live programming that included presentations on education for K-12, college success, art, music, literacy, writing, books, entertainment, and community engagement announcements. The program received 10,760 viewers and reached more than 42,700 people online including out of the country viewers. These numbers represent new possibilities to reach the target audience and still create an impact.

Interaction, networking, engagement, and connection are key pieces from every event even if its virtual. As the country continues to recover, events will transition slowly to in-person settings. This year, the event seeks to create a greater connection by interacting in-person with libraries, organizations, and businesses from around North County San Diego.

This 2021 the Latino Book & Family Festival is celebrating its 69th event since 1997. The event seeks to provide a common place to learn & be exposed to opportunities even in a virtual setting. Our organization, Empowering Latino Futures, believes that community success is limited by access to resources, and it seeks to change that. The festival committee is composed of community leaders, educators, librarians, and Award Winning Authors that every month come together to ensure that the event is well organized, well attended, and has a great array of workshops, activities, and entertainment. This year, the event will start on Saturday, August 7th and will end on November 6th, 2021. This will be a three-month effort with continuous programing on Wednesdays at 11am. The presentations will include information on education for K-12, college success, art, music, literacy, health, writing, books, award winning author panels, and
community engagement.

Everyone is welcome to join these free events. The organization seeks to expanding once again and hosting the event around the USA. www.LBFF.us

Ana Patiño, Festival Committee Member, Empowering Latino Futures.