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Listen In: Hispanic Federation’s Laudi Campo Talks About How The Hispanic Community is Shaping Central Florida, What She’s Celebrating This Month

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Tomorrow marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. 

WMFE spoke with Hispanic Federation’s Laudi Campo about how the local Hispanic community is shaping Central Florida and what she’s celebrating this month.

Read the full interview below. 

Laudi: So we are one of the biggest in counties like Osceola, the population, that Latinos make up the majority of the population in that county. So we are making changes in the state and Florida has the third largest number of undocumented residents as well, which is important, because they generate $7.6 billion dollars in the state when they do the farming work.

So yes, we are doing amazing in the state, because we Latinos are educators, we’re business owners, we’re freedom fighters. We are professionals, we’re scientists, we’re artists, we’re doctors, we’re doing everything in the state. And of course, we’re proud of being here and being part of this nation that we now call home.

Danielle: You know, when we think of just how this community is shaping the area of Central Florida and Orlando, how do you think that this community is kind of really shaping the culture and just the kind of the feel of this area?

Laudi: Well, I came here 10 years ago, and, and for people that had been here, before I was they say that this is a huge change. You see, so many specifically, when talking about Central Florida, how a lot of business owners, how a lot of locations, schools, you see the difference in the way, a lot of Latinos, a lot of the Spanish speaking, a lot of culture, music, we’re a very happy and family-oriented community.

So you’ll see that sometimes you see more events, more festivals, things like that, because that’s the way that we can get together. And I have to make sure that people understand that we’re here because we want to provide and also be part of this nation and this state. Because again, as I already said, this is our new home, this is our home, and we want to make it nice for our kids and our future generations.

Danielle: What do people need to do do you think to help with the outreach to this community? When I think about the beginning of COVID, there weren’t enough resources in Spanish and things like that. What’s still missing do you think in terms of outreach?

Laudi: You just mentioned it language barrier is one of the most important things. We’re learning about it, because we’re doing a campaign of vaccination.

And sometimes it’s not that people, for example, people don’t want, it’s not that they don’t want to get vaccinated. It’s because they don’t understand the process or what is happening. So yes, there has been, as a government, we have seen a good change. But there’s still more need of culturally competent information for our community. There’s a good start, but there still can be more to be done.

And also to think that not all, don’t think of us as one, same group. We’re not, you can not speak the same to a Puerto Rican, that you speak to a Venezuelan and it’s not bad, that is what makes us different. Our cultures are, we speak the same languages with some words that you might say in Spanish to a Puerto Rican, maybe different context to a Venezuelan. So those are aspects that are needed to take into account when you reach out to our community. We’re not monolithic. We are very diverse.

Danielle: In terms of celebrating the community, you know, we have one month of Hispanic Heritage Month. But what would you like to see in terms of celebrating this community in this area? Do you think enough is done to celebrate it? Or would you like to see more?

Laudi: We see a lot of things and festivities in recognizing some of the people that were before us.

I would like to see more than as a celebration. I would like to see more a month that could be open to more access more than celebrating, yes, we’re celebrating what we are, what we had done here. But how about creating more opportunities, creating more websites, and culturally competent information?

That would be a great celebration. We’re celebrating our culture, but that will make us feel also more welcome and be part of what is the government and what is what happens in our daily life. So yes, I have to say they’re doing a good thing. But other than celebrating more than that, you should be like you can surprise me with a website or something that will open more doors to Latinos to continue forwarding their life and their families here in Central Florida.

Danielle: You know, when you think about the rest of 2021 what are some of the focus areas that the Hispanic Federation is really going to try to hit hard, things that you’re kind of really worried about, you know, when it comes to the community for the rest of the year?

Laudi: Of course, COVID is our first main plan for this next, the rest of the year, as we know, the Latinos have been one of the hardest hit communities that have been affected by COVID. So we’ll continue to educate and vaccinate people, we’re doing events everywhere, and we are making the vaccinations accessible to our communities.

Another thing that we want to make sure is to make our community go back to our new reality, which means more technologies being incorporated into jobs, more English. So we are trying to train. So our community that has been affected can have better chances to go back to the workforce with more tools.

And also, of course, we want to have and see a change in the immigration aspects of what is all happening. We wanted to see our DACA students and a package of legislation that will help our immigrants to continue to help our states but legally which is what they want to do.

Danielle: I want to know what would you like to celebrate in particular this month of some of the great success stories you’ve seen in this area over the last year, you know, what, who would you shout out, you know, to celebrate?

Laudi: I will shout out to the first responders and our farmers, those were saving lives all the time. They were outside and our farmers put food in our tables so we can continue to work. So as a Latina, that had seen that, I think that that’s the best thing we can celebrate.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »