Latinos Progresando serves immigrants with the highest quality low-cost legal immigration services, community education/ engagement and advocacy organizing around policy that affects immigrants.
Luis Gutierrez founded LP In 1998 to address the paucity of high-quality, accessible, culturally and linguistically sensitive community resources in his home neighborhood, Little Village. LP’s presence and roots in Little Village and Pilsen make the organization uniquely attuned to the specific needs of the communities. The organization’s programming is designed to serve every generation and strata within the immigrant population, from first-generation parents without English language skills, to the “1.5” generation trapped between the mores of an unknown homeland and urban reality, to second-generation students lacking support for their college dreams, to immigrant victims of domestic violence, trapped by their dependence on a citizen or legal permanent resident abuser. Since the organization’s inception in 1998, LP’s Legal Immigration Services Program has assisted nearly 20,000 immigrants and their families on their journeys to reunification and lawful immigration status.
Immigration services we provide include inquiries and actions to analyze and resolve new and pending cases, applications for lawful permanent residency, petitions to immigrate family members, self petitions for immigrant victims of domestic violence through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and applications for citizenship. As one of the only organizations on the South Side of Chicago that is accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals, we also represent clients in front of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Finally, the Program also holds community education programs at schools, women’s shelters, and other nonprofit organizations on immigrant rights, status legalization procedures, the Violence Against Women Act, updates on immigration law, and dispelling myths of the immigration process. In 2003, LP launched Teatro Americano to address the dearth of quality arts programming and opportunities in his home communities and as the failure of mainstream theater to deal with issues of relevance to the Latino community became apparent to the LP’s leadership.
Since its inception, TA has produced and performed five original plays about Latino life and issues. As a part of TA’s Education initiative, its youth theater instructors conduct after school programs at Castellanos and Eli Whitney Grammar Schools, Telpochcalli Community School, and Benito Juarez High School. In the past it has also had programs and performances at Little Village High School, David G. Farragut High School, Orozco Community Academy, DePaul University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Chicago. With its youth participants, TA also performs and produces plays and skits about Latino life. The program introduces under-served youth to the arts and to opportunities therein for self-expression and personal advancement.
Along with Teatro Americano, LP also serves the community’s youth through its College-Bound Youth Group (CBYG). CBYG provides students and their parents with information about getting into college, succeeding in college, access to financial aid, and professional advancement resources. CBYG was founded in 2005, and is uniquely comprehensive, providing opportunities for civic engagement and advocacy around the issues that shape youths’ lives. In particular, through our programs and workshops, CBYG youth have advocated for the passage of the DREAM Act on their own behalf, even securing a meeting in the office of Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the bill’s co-author. In addition, CBYG guides parents and students through the difficult financial aid process and pursues opportunities for non-citizen students seeking higher education opportunities.