Historical Accomplishments

The Spanish Action Committee of Chicago, SACC, was established as a coalition of Chicago's Spanish-speaking organizations and citizens. They were determined to effectively and constructively focus attention on and resolve the needs, problems and aspiration of this large and growing segment of the city's population. SACC's determination is to guide Chicago's Puerto Rican and Latino citizens own destiny so that they can fully participate in today's society by building strength and pride in the Spanish speaking community while, at the same time, developing resources and expertise necessary for positive social changes.

The necessity for SACC emerged following the 1966 Division Street disturbances, to represent the interests of Chicago's Puerto Rican community. Today the Committee encompasses Latino citizens as well. Until 1969, the organization's activities were funded entirely by the community. However, as programs expanded and new tasks were assumed, SACC required outside financial assistance, part of which has come from several of Chicago's institutions and agencies.

Since its foundation in 1966, SACC has dedicated its energies towards:

  • Creating an awareness among Spanish-speaking citizens that they are first-class citizens entitled to share fully in the rights, privileges and hopes shared by all Americans. Providing a source of information and assistance which helps community residents recognize their problems, find solutions and coordinate the programs which serve larger segments of the community.
  • Training and equipping an organized staff which effectively deals with the problems of health and welfare, education, employment, police/community relations, housing and legal aid.
  • Opening and maintaining channels of communications between the people and the agencies which serve them.
  • Advocating the interest of the community before its representatives in the city, county, State and Federal Governments.

What Has SACC Accomplished?

The Spanish Action Committee of Chicago, like many other inner city agencies for social and economic improvement, has undertaken a broad range of problems since its inception in 1966. While many of SACC's efforts have succeeded, and a few have not, the Committee's primary goal already is an accomplished fact: to demonstrate to Chicago's Spanish-speaking citizens that they can and must play a major role in determining and directing their destiny.

The following specific initiatives were implemented by SACC:

  • Developed two-way communications with the Board of Education, resulting in greater sensitivity to community needs and Hispanic representation in teacher workshops and in district/community affairs and teacher/student relationships. Defeated a boundary change which would have transferred 2nd and 3rd grade students to a more distant school.
  • Forced placement of Spanish-Speaking representatives on a new District Educational Advisory Board which improved communication and cooperation between the community and the Board of Education.
  • Played a key role in creating the Lafayette Bilingual Advisory Board, which served as an advisory on the local Board of Education District.
  • Operated an Urban Service Training Center, which provided orientation sessions and workshops for potential, indigenous leadership.
  • Behavioral Modification. Assisted parents by providing orientation and referrals to agencies which provided therapeutic intervention to youth in crisis. Educational Workshops. Provided information and referrals to college bound students seeking financial aid. Provided referrals to residents pursuing advancement in education.
  • Acted in the past as an intermediary on tenant/landlord relations. Appeared before Senate subcommittee hearings on a proposal for home ownership by low income citizens: also appeared in Springfield to voice opposition to a proposed anti-picketing bill being considered by the State Senate.
  • Conducted housing workshops to assist community residents in improving the buildings and areas in which they live.
  • Energy Conservation and Assistance. SACC currently provides assistance to the community residents in need of payment towards gas and electric bills.
  • Community Development and Organization. Assists residents with referrals to agencies providing resources for the upkeep and beautification of the community.
  • Provide referrals to residents seeking assistance with housing.
  • Helped relocate the local Urban Progress Center from a small, unstaffed outpost to a large, better equipped facility, which has now become a center for community action.
  • Instrumental in having Wicker Park District Director of Public Aid replaced by an individual more responsive to the community, plus the addition of a Spanish liaison advisor and several Spanish speaking staff members to the district office.
  • Women's Motivational Group. Funded a Women's Group which conducted monthly motivation seminars on site. This program permited Hispanic Women to come together to discuss, learn, teach and actively participate in various activities which effectively prepare them to deal with the issues commonly faced by Hispanic Women.
  • Formed Welfare Client Committee to study welfare needs of community residents and to open direct channels of communication between the Spanish community and the Executive Director of the Cook County Public Aid Department. As a result, more than 2,000 needy and eligible residents have received public assistance.
  • Implemented the Domestic Violence Program for Spanish Speaking Women in the community until 2002. This program had consisted of three stages (a) Individual counseling sessions (b) Weekly group sessions educating the women in this program and (c) weekly motivational sessions.
  • Established a legal committee to open communication with police and to work with Inspections Division on problems arising between police and community residents.
  • Acted as intermediary between police and local youth organizations.
  • Provided legal assistance for community residents through a Community Legal Council, which was funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity.
  • Attacked the community's lack of participation in the electoral process by creating a committee to conduct door to door canvassing, registration and voter education.