On May 25, 2016, Cambiando Vidas of Access living and the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago hosted the first joint Latino conference. The conference, “Building a National Network: Empowering Latinos with disabilities,” took place at Access Living located in Chicago, IL and attempted to create a national network between community organizations, academics, and service providers who work for and with Latinos with disabilities. Some of the Keynote speakers were Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and his wife Evelyn Garcia who talked about how to empower and transform the community. The conference also included several panel speakers that discussed issues on education, immigration, healthcare and employment, and coalition building and networking.
The conference provided rich and in-depth information on unique issues faced by Latinos with disabilities. Researchers from the Family Support Research and Training Center (FSRTC) actively participated in the conference. In addition to interacting with individual leaders with disabilities, community organizers, and practitioners, we presented at the poster session on various issues involving Latino immigrant caregiver experiences, disparities in family support, and an international collaboration between FSRTC and the National University of Columbia.