Skip to main content

A Latinx Resource Guide: Civil Rights Cases and Events in the United States

1976 and 2006: Congressional Leadership

Laura Patterson, photographer. Chairman Kika de la Garza and Pat Roberts at a meeting of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. 1994. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

For decades, the Latinx community trailed behind in political influence as lack of representation in congress, restrictive voting laws, and minimal civic awareness prohibited Latinxs from casting sufficient ballots or political support to address their respective social, economic, and political concerns. Gradually, through communal empowerment and activism, the Latinx population, political representation, and electorate has expanded. Today, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and the Congressional Hispanic Conference are led respectively by Democratic and Republican Latinx congressional representatives, who strive to advance political representation and the needs of the Hispanic constituencies. The diversity of Latinx voters, which comes from varied differences in race, ethnicity, age, religion, and regional issues contributes to diverging political affiliations across the Latinx electorate.

In 1976, five Members of Congress—Herman Badillo (NY), Eligio “Kika” de la Garza II (TX), Henry B. Gonzalez (TX), Edward Roybal (CA), and Baltasar Corrada del Río (PR) introduced the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). This Congressional member organization strives to address legislative, executive, and judicial issues pertaining to the Latinx community in the U.S, Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories.

Later in 1978, four members of the CHC—Edward Roybal, Eligio “Kika” de la Garza, Robert “Bobby” Garcia, and Baltasar Corrada—established the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), a 501(c) (3) nonpartisan nonprofit educational organization providing leadership programs and scholarships to young Latinx students.

By 1997, five Republican leaning Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus had left the organization. In 2003, they established the Congressional Hispanic Conference. This Congressional member organization strives to promote the concerns of Hispanic and Portuguese communities in the U.S. Later in 2003, Congressional Hispanic Conference members founded the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, a 501(c) 3 nonpartisan organization, to advocate for fellowship programs that support young Hispanic students through leadership, governmental, and corporate internships.

In the 116th U.S. Congress, there were CHC 38 members and 6 Congressional Hispanic Conference members.

What is a caucus?

A caucus refers to a group of congressional Members who share a common interest, political agenda, or constituency. A congressional caucus convenes regularly to address mutual legislative concerns.

Timeline

December 1976

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) is founded by five Hispanic identifying Members of Congress

1978 The CHC establishes the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI)
March 17, 2003 Representative Diaz-Balart from Florida announces the formation of the Congressional Hispanic Conference. Later that year, the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHCLI) is founded

Resources

The following resources are available online at the Library of Congress.

Staff in the Hispanic Reading Room can provide access to these books at the Library of Congress. If you cannot visit the Library in person, please contact us using Ask a Librarian for assistance. In many cases, you can also find these materials at your local library.

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.

The following external websites can be useful for expanding your research on the Hispanic Leadership.

Related Images from the Library's Collections