What cultural or related factors should local officials be aware of when attempting to engage Latino immigrant populations?
Sal Tinajero: It’s important not to generalize too broadly about the Latino — or any — community, but local officials should understand that each community will have its own ways of communicating, playing, worshiping, celebrating and so on. The more these are understood, the more likely you’ll be able to successfully develop strategies for integration and engagement. For example, to some people, low-rider car shows might suggest images of gangs and violence, when in fact such car clubs and shows are often family activities and serve as opportunities for social networking. If local officials are familiar with such community practices, they will be more successful in getting information to and from residents. Oscar Rios: Take advantage of cultural celebrations and events, such as Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day, to spread the word about city services and ways to become involved. Recognize and celebrate the contributions that Latinos have made in your community. In Watsonville,