Multicultural News

La Plaza celebrates 50 years of service in central Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — La Plaza is continuing the work it started a quarter of a century ago: leading the way for Indiana’s growing Hispanic community.

It’s broad selection of initiatives and programming is part of the longevity, and organizers say there’s much more planned for the future.

Hispanics living in central Indiana make up about 13% of the population. When La Plaza started 50 years ago they only made up 1%. With that population growth, La Plaza representatives said, they’ve brought culture, skill and more to Indiana.

Culture is woven into the fabric of any community. Indiana’s gets richer by the day. For 50 years, La Plaza has played a part in that: providing foundation and resources to immigrant families living here.

“It’s a great accomplishment and awesome milestone for our organization,” said Mariana Lopez-Owens, director of workforce development and entrepreneurship with La Plaza.

The building sits on Indianapolis’ east side, but the work expands much farther. Education programs and scholarships have help push students further.

For families with dreams of moving to America, having children fulfilling a dream of college seemed unreachable at times.

“Part of our mission is to strengthen youth through educational college prep programs,” Lopez-Owens said.

When the doors opened 50 years ago the families experienced much of the same as families now. La Plaza has stepped up with food distribution, English language courses, and citizenship support.

“Those needs are very similar to the needs of the first immigrants who arrived here 50 years ago in terms of basic needs,” Lopez-Owens said.

But, the work doesn’t stop there. A newly awarded $1.03 million grant will help open a Latino opportunity center. It’ll offer workforce development services to adults looking to move from a job to a career, and provide support to push against systemic barriers the limit upward mobility.

“We definitely have come a long way with Latino and Hispanic social justice and just minority rights overall.”

Since it is Hispanic Heritage Month, La Plaza is holding its annual Fiesta. However, it will be virtual this year.

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