Since 1971, La Alianza Hispana has been an icon of Latino leadership and has consistently served as a portal to hope for well over 30,000 Bostonians.As a hub of social service delivery, advocacy, and education, our organization has changed the landscape of community resources and has changed lives.
Woven into our core values of empowerment and supporting social justice, La Alianza has a rich history of incubating ideas that have evolved into powerful models of community leadership. Today, we continue to build on our legacy, and are committed to providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services to meet the needs of Boston’s Latino community.
La Alianza Hispana (LAH) was begun in 1968 by Ana Maria Rodriguez, teacher of English as a second language at the Winthrop Elementary School in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Noticing the impoverished conditions of her Latino students, Rodriguez, along with fellow teacher Betsy Tregar, started meeting at Denison House in Roxbury with Latino parents to begin addressing their needs. The group they formed was known as the Spanish Alliance.
In 1969 Hubie Jones, then director of the Roxbury Multi-Service Center (RMSC), a social service agency primarily serving the African American community, hired Frieda Garcia as an outreach worker to the Latino community of Roxbury. Garcia learned about the Spanish Alliance and brought it to the attention of Jones. With support from RMSC for a separate Latino-run organization, LAH incorporated in 1970 to begin addressing the most pressing needs of the Latino community of Roxbury and North Dorchester, which had been identified as education and employment training, and housing. With Garcia as its first director and Rodriguez as its first president, LAH began formal operations that same year launching a summer youth recreation program as its first service. LAH applied for and received funding from Boston's Model Cities Administration in 1971, which allowed the agency to expand its operations and services.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Latino community of Boston became very active in the city's civic, social, and political life. Primarily residing in the South End, Roxbury, and Dorchester, Latinos began organizing to advocate for their civil rights and access to social services. LAH was the first Latino organization of the Roxbury/North Dorchester area of Boston. In the South End, other advocacy and service agencies were formed, including Emergency Tenants Council, which later became Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion (IBA); El Centro del Cardenal, a Catholic charity organization; and the Association to Promote the Civil Rights of the Spanish Speaking (APCROSS). From its inception, LAH has been a multi-service organization, offering a variety of programs to meet the needs of its service community.