UNO’s mission is to challenge Hispanics to define and attain standards of excellence for themselves towards an overall enfranchisement of this community, both in a broad sense of American social growth and at the local level in terms of stable neighborhoods and healthy families.
UNO is a 501(c) (3) community group established in 1984 to empower Chicago Hispanics through classic grassroots organizing strategies. Over time and through its strategic successes, UNO’s outlook toward Hispanic immigrant empowerment evolved into a more sophisticated and centrist philosophy.
Since its founding in Chicago, UNO has refined its mission by choosing to honor the Hispanic community’s roots and values, challenging it to reach its full potential via efforts to promote Hispanic assimilation. UNO believes the Hispanic community is similar to its Irish, German, and Polish counterparts, among others. As with these immigrant groups, Hispanics have come to the United States to benefit from American opportunity by working hard to create better lives for their families. Representing an historic wave of immigration to the United States, Hispanics are the newest incarnation of that American tradition.
UNO believes that, like the paths of our predecessors, Hispanic immigration also carries a set of serious challenges that will test our community’s ability to prosper. The nation’s largest drop-out rate, gang violence, and teenage pregnancy, among other problems, have for decades stifled this group’s potential and accomplishment.
Even so, practical solutions to these problems are scarce, as pragmatism often takes a back seat to agendas that portray Hispanics as a victimized community. This depiction of Hispanics as “victims” is enormously inaccurate. Hispanics must be challenged to take full advantage of American possibilities through deep investments in family, civic involvement and, especially, in the education of its next generation.
As a result of its leadership, UNO has seen Hispanics rise to the occasion when presented this challenge. This is a community that cares deeply about family and education. What remains for Hispanics today is creating this same type of engagement and success on a wider scale.