Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

Indianapolis to create services for growing Hispanic population

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The city government of Indianapolis is pushing for new services to help the state’s fastest-growing minority population.

“It’s wonderful that the Latino community here in Indianapolis has grown and doubled over the past few decades,” said Judith B. Thomas, Indianapolis deputy mayor of neighborhood engagement.

According to a 2016 report by the Indiana Latino Institute and Indiana University Public Policy Institute, the city is home to the largest number of Latinos in the state. They make up around 10% of the city’s population. “They add to the culture, the richness of Indianapolis as well as the fact that people have chosen Indianapolis and thought this was a great place to come and live and raise a family,” Thomas said.

Because of this growing community, city officials are taking on new initiatives for the next few years that will help them meet the increase in demands for services. This includes more Spanish-translation opportunities.

“Providing those tools and resources for departments, if that’s a language line where somebody calls a specific department they’re able to connect with someone who can help interpret the need of that constituent,” said Ruth Morales, Indianapolis director of the international and Latino affairs. “We also need to look at some of our other services like the Request Indy app, where you can request various needs that you may have as well as our website,” Thomas said.

The city is also accepting applications for Axis 2022, an eight-month program that prepares young Latino professionals to be engaged with civic and community leadership activities. Axis was launched in 2018 by the city of Indianapolis in partnership with the Indiana Latino Expo. 

“The catalyst for these types of initiatives and even looking at language access is the diversity that Mayor Joe Hogsett has helped increase here in the city,” Morales said.