Junta Turns 50

Latino advocacy and services organization continues to evolve.

Junta for Progressive Action building on Grand Avenue, New Haven.

In 1969, Junta for Progressive Action opened its doors to support the growing numbers of Puerto Rican families migrating to New Haven. It has been a beacon for Greater New Haven Latinos ever since.

Junta has built a strong reputation as an advocate for Latino and immigrant rights and as a place where families can meet with Spanish-speaking staff to receive help meeting their basic needs, learning English, and finding a job. As it enters its sixth decade, the multi-service provider is strategically focused on how to best support an increasingly diverse population. For Executive Director Daniel Reyes, hired last year after a national search, that work involves listening to the community and building relationships with partner organizations.

"We are thinking about the whole person," says Reyes. "This is a historic organization; I'm here to make sure that people continue to recognize this house as a beacon of hope."

Under Reyes, Junta has organized its services in three areas of work: social services; community and economic advancement; and youth services.

As part of its youth service work, Junta recently expanded its free after-school program, The Neighborhood Place. Done in partnership with Artè to provide arts education, the program is in a new location that can now serve 75 local kids primarily from Christopher Columbus Academy and John C. Daniels School. Read more in the New Haven Independent.

The Community Foundation is a longtime supporter of Junta; since 2013 it has provided the organization with grants totaling $610,000.

The Foundation's Immigration Integration Strategy has provided grant funding to support bilingual immigration and family legal services at Junta. During a recent grant term, Junta provided information to protect and empower local residents most affected by current immigration policies and practices. Junta held community defense workshops, which incorporated basic know-your-rights education, emergency planning, and attorney review. Junta worked to advance a Sanctuary City Ordinance in New Haven, which would further formalize many policies currently in place.

The SOMOS JUNTA 50th Anniversary Gala is being held September 21 to celebrate Junta for Progressive's 50th year of advancing Latino communities. The Foundation Board member Alicia Caraballo, a longtime education administrator, and community volunteer will receive the Pura Delgado Leadership Award. Event registration.

To learn more about Junta for Progressive Action, visit its profile on giveGreater.org.

Did you know?

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, Junta has housed, clothed, consoled, and fed over 914 people who had to evacuate the island, an effort that was supported by the Progreso Latino Fund.

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.