Welcome to another episode of Connecticut Latino News Opinion+, where we talk about major issues Latinx and underrepresented communities face.
This week we spoke with Jose Lucas Pimentel, CEO of CT LEAD.
Latinos for Educational Advocacy and Diversity (LEAD) officially began its operations on June 28, 2021, offering a variety of free services across the state since then. However, the idea was initially formed in 2019 by a group of CT Latino parents who sought to create more educational opportunities tailored to Latino and Hispanic students. The group’s four pillars include educational options, civic engagement, financial literacy, and Latino history and culture.
“The Latino community usually has bigger challenges than traditional communities… and that only became worse during the pandemic when a lot of immigrant families had to try to navigate technology and faced so many other things that ended up making them fall [further] behind,” Pimentel explained.
In Danbury, the headquarters of CT LEAD, about 50 percent of English Learner students have dropped out of school, according to Pimentel. The organization seeks effective educational opportunities for young Latinos across the state to create a future that is led and guided by Latinos.
“We are losing many of our youth and many times their path ends up being low-income jobs or prison,” Pimentel said. “We really want to make sure that education becomes our number one pillar, so we can start finding solutions and we think the solution has to come from our own community.”