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Some History of the Alliance for Hispanic Advancement

By Debbie Porcayo

In February 1992 I was invited to a meeting of the Alliance for Hispanic Advancement.

The meeting was held at Gray Ave. School. As I walked into the meeting room, I saw 20 good looking Latino brothers & sisters, who were business owners, managers, educators, professionals and concerned citizens. I recognized many faces but was happy to meet many new people with the same interests as me. So, I was immediately hooked. I was curious to know what they were planning and how they thought. I remember hearing that this would be the first official meeting of the AHA and we would be the first “Board of Directors”.

I was extremely excited to be part of this group and wanted to do all I could do to help the community since I had been doing my part for so many years through our family business, La Plazita Foods, a Mexican Bakery/Tortilla Factory/Mexican Specialty Store and sort of a make-shift resource center for Spanish-speaking people to access information and/or resources, when needed. It took a while for this group of people to decide on a name for the organization. They could not decide on Latino, Hispanic or other descriptions of who we are. The day I joined; the name had already been established.

Next, we had the task of creating a Mission Statement. That took us another few meetings to create and agree on. Another task that took us some time was getting our 501C3 account with the state. We eventually got it and we were up and running. Through the years, we have given hundreds of scholarships, attended as many community events as possible to share our mission, recruit new members, sell good to raise funds, and have fun times together as a group. Other successful fundraising events we have held are the “Primavera Dinner Dance, “Comedy Night at New Generations”, our “AHA Tamale Sale” and several “AHA Huge Yard Sales” My big dream has always been to open a “AHA Community/Resource/Recreation Center” for the people young and old in our community. 

My very favorite event is our “Annual Scholarship Recognition Dinner” for our scholarship recipients and their families. I feel so proud to be able to see these young students begin to create and fulfill their educational goals and dreams. They are our future. We are planting good seeds, preparing the way for generations to come.