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Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut provides an open space for community members

Representation matters, which is why the Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut staff reflects the community.

NEW LONDON, Conn. — FOX61 sat down with one organization in New London, Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut, to learn how it's made significant waves in the Hispanic community for over two decades. in the Hispanic community for over two decades.

It's a vision that came to fruition to advance Hispanic contributions in the nutmeg state by bringing communities together through various initiatives, events, and more. 

"We aim for a thriving community where the well-being and their voice and representation are heard, validated, and implemented at all levels," explained Maria Amparo Cruz-Saco, secretary of the Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut.

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Cruz-Saco's late husband, Alejandro Melendez-Cooper, had the vision to create a support network for immigrants in the greater New London area and address the needs of the Hispanic community head-on. It was then that the Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut was created.

"We have very structured and very specific clearly identified well, designed intentional programs with certain goals," said Cruz-Saco.

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Cruz-Saco said the organization is also meant for people to feel like they belong. 

"It's something that fills us with a lot of pride because that's what we like to transmit," said Cruz-Saco.  "You do belong. There's no membership fee to be paid. This is an open space."

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Cruz-Saco stressed that representation matters, which is why the Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut staff reflects the community. 

On top of having bilingual staff, she said the space also provides access and opportunity for those in the Hispanic community. From initiatives and scholarships to networking, economic support, and health advocacy,  Cruz-Saco said there's so much the organization does for the community.  

"The community here has grown in an unbelievable way," explained Lina Agudelo, Executive Director.

Agudelo said as the Hispanic population grows in the New London area, so does the organization's reach and mission. 

"There are many different groups from many different countries that we would love to welcome to our organization, and we also want to continue developing our current projects, which will empower every single part of our generations," said Agudelo.  

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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