William C. Velásquez Institute
William C. Velasquez Institute is a Los Angeles based, tax-exempt, non-profit, non-partisan public policy analysis organization chartered in 1985.
- The purpose of WCVI is to: conduct research aimed at improving the level of political and economic participation in Latino and other underrepresented communities; To provide information to Latino leaders relevant to the needs of their constituents; To inform the Latino leadership and public about the impact of public policies on Latinos; To inform the Latino leadership and public about political opinions and behavior of Latinos.
The Southwest Voter Research Institute was established in 1984 with the aim of seeking "the opinions of the Latino electorate and to make those findings known."
In 1997, the Southwest Voter Research Institute was changed to the William C. Velásquez Institute (WCVI).
Key initiatives of Institute President Antonio Gonzalez include;
- sending delegations to observe the Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, South African, Mexican, and Venezuelan electoral processes in 1990 and 1991, 1994, 1997, and 2006.
- leading the Latino Consensus on NAFTA movement that led to the creation of the three billion dollar North American Development Bank in 1993.
- promoting greater dialogue between the U.S. and Cuba. and
- conducting international learning seminars for Latino leaders to study policy innovations in Europe and South America.
Gonzalez has also helped the Latino agenda evolve through his pioneering work in blending traditional working class immigrant Latino priorities (those of a “minority”) with broader agenda priorities most notably climate change and urban greening (those of an emerging “majority”). This transitional process dubbed “from tofu to chile verde” has captured the imagination of Latino leadership across the U.S. and had its first expression in November 2005 with a California Latino Summit on the Environment.
Currently, Gonzalez is leading a community-based collaborative with local government to help revitalize the Los Angeles River through development of parks, open space, affordable housing and schools along its banks in the urban core of Los Angeles.
Sponsoring Congressional Cuba travel
In the early 2000s the William C. Velasquez Institute sponsored several rips to Cuba by two California Democratic Congresswomen.
Rep. Loretta Sanchez, (-CA) 04/09/03-04/16/03 Cuba Fact-finding trip $2,550.00
Rep. Loretta Sanchez, (-CA) 05/25/02-05/31/02 Havana, Cuba Fact-finding and meetings $4,020.00
Rep. Hilda Solis, (-CA) 04/11/01-04/14/01 Havana, Cuba Purpose not disclosed $1,214.50