The Latinx Technology & Community Center of Greater Flint (previously named Hispanic Technology & Community) is a community service and educational agency established to secure equal opportunities for Hispanics and other minority individuals, as well as the local community. According to LTCC Director, Asa Zuccaro, the name was changed to Latinx at the beginning of 2019 because it is a more inclusive term. “Latinx is a term encompassing everybody, Hispanics and anybody with Latin American origins,” says Zuccaro. “Through our work here, we are breaking language and cultural barriers for a healthy community.”
According to Zuccaro, it is very important for the Latinx community to be bi-lingual. LTCC offers English classes to help immigrant families better navigate services in Flint and Genesee County. The Center also offers a Spanish class for professionals that also speaks of the Latinx culture, for members of the community in professions that help people who have a language barrier. LTCC also has a youth program for elementary-age children, in partnership with Applewood and the MSU Extension. For middle-school and high-school students, LTCC offers the Leadership Academy, which has been very successful.
According to the last U.S. Census, the population of the Latinx community in Flint is 3.9 percent, or 4,000 people. In Genesee County, the Latinx population is 13,000 (3%). “Historically, Flint’s east side has the highest population,” Zuccaro adds.
The Latinx population has a 100-year history in the Flint area, according to Zuccaro, starting when a massive migration to the United States occurred during the Mexican Revolution. “My family moved here, as well,” Zucarro says, adding that the Hispanic population played an integral role in Flint’s success in many ways, including the Labor Movement and in public education. Flint was the first city to back a teacher’s union, he notes. Migrant farm workers have also contributed to the success of farms in the area. “It is important for us to remember the collective stories of our elders,” he adds, “to ensure that the ways our culture contributed to Flint are documented.”
There are many opportunities in the City of Flint for the entire Latinx community, Zuccaro reports. “I’m excited to see Flint welcoming immigrants to the community. I look forward to seeing further progress to ensure the health and wellbeing of our immigrants.”
The bi-lingual director was born and raised on Flint’s east side and is very aware of the problems faced by the Latino community. And having grown up near where the Community Center is located, he is very proud to be serving the Latinx community. “My grandfather worked for the auto industry and he also worked for the City of Flint his entire life, managing all of the parks,” Zuccaro shares. “He tells me so many stories. It is an honor and a privilege to serve this community and to share what I learned from my grandfather.”