Missouri communities responding to change
The community development program for the Cambio de Colores conference is a chance for people to hear the stories what community leaders in Missouri have to tell about the changes they have been going through as a result of the immigration of Hispanics into their communities. We invited participants from different parts of the state dealing with changes that follow from an influx of immigrants into a community. The following summaries were taken from meetings held with some of the panelists from each community. In visiting with each of these communities, I saw several themes that all of them seemed to be responding to on some level. One thing has become clear ? there are few public resources available for the express purpose of helping communities adjust to what are sometimes tremendous demographic changes. Most of the communities have created some sort of a multicultural council or forum to share ideas, network resources, and provide services. Each of these communities has fashioned its own unique responses that build on local resources and help leaders to tap into other resources that can be of service to their community. Issues that most of the communities share include communication, decent and affordable housing, education, cultural differences, and citizenship status. What is interesting about these stories is how they define the issues in each community and how the communities have organized themselves to address them. I hope these summaries provide a sense of what each community is working on and stimulate readers to follow up with them to find out more. They are doing some amazing work.