Cambio de colores 2006 logo

Latinos in Missouri: Beyond Borders

April 19-21, 2006

Stoney Creek Inn,
Columbia, Mo.

About the 2006 Conference Content

Some Fast Facts About Latinos

About the Cambio de Colores conference

Objectives and History

Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) in Missouri” is an annual conference that focuses on issues related to the current Latino immigration to the state in particular and the Midwest in general.  With the goal of contributing to a smooth and lasting integration of the new population, the main objectives of the conference are:

  • To assess the changes brought about by the presence of new Latino urban and rural settlers in every region of the state.
  • To inform about the multiple contributions—economic, social, and cultural—that these new Missourians are bringing to many communities and to the state as a whole.
  • To understand the opportunities that this demographic change brings to the state, its people, communities, businesses, and educational institutions.
  • To provide a forum to discuss the change and growth challenges posed to institutions and people—both new and old Missourians.
  • To share relevant scholarship and best practices, and identify knowledge and service gaps that need addressing.

The annual three-day conference convenes academic research and extension specialists, public and private service providers, grassroots organizations, state and local government institutions, politicians, corporations, and newcomers themselves. The conference is sponsored by the University of Missouri, in cooperation with community and state partners. It is mostly funded by participants (numbering around 300) and sponsors.

The Hispanic and Latin American Faculty & Staff Association of the University of Missouri-Columbia (HLAFSA), established in late 1999, took a principal role in creating and leading these conferences, with the enthusiastic support of the University of Missouri System institutions, and the collaboration of many organizations in our state.

A groundbreaking, three-day event took place in March 2002 at the University of Missouri-Columbia: Cambio de colores (Change of Colors). Latinos in Missouri: A call to action!”  A synthesis of the experiences, facts and knowledge derived from this conference is the monograph Cambio de Colores. Immigration of Latinos to Missouri, which remains a state-of-the-art publication.  Currently, printed proceedings of the other three conferences are in preparation.

The 2003 conference, Cambio de colores (Change of Colors). Latinos in Missouri: Neighbors in Urban and Rural Communities,” convened at the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

In 2004, the conference Cambio de colores (change of colors). Latinos in Missouri: Gateway to a New Community was hosted by the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

And in the year 2005, the conference came back to Columbia: Cambio de colores (change of colors). Latinos in Missouri: Connecting Research to Policy and Practice - Hoy y mañana.

The diverse and enthusiastic participation in these very inclusive events is demonstrating the relevance and the urgency of addressing today the challenges and the opportunities that arise in Missouri and other Midwestern states, as Latinos and other newcomers settle as workers, entrepreneurs, families and members of communities.

Currently, the main institutional support for the conference comes from the Cambio Center for Research and Outreach on Latinos and Changing Communities in Missouri, established by the University of Missouri-Columbia in the fall of 2004.


About the 2006 Conference Content

The 2006 program, while continuing to examine how research informs policy and practice, will explore how the flows of people, goods and information are changing our notions of what constitutes a border. To what extent are Missouri’s experiences similar and different from other states in the region?  What is being done to make their integration smooth and beneficial for everybody?

The conference program builds on the sharing of university and community resources ranging from academic studies to the practice perspective of those working at “ground zero” as well as the everyday experiences of non-professionals.  Each year the breadth of the program has expanded as we become more experienced in working through the challenges and opportunities offered by our newest residents.  

The 2006 conference will continue to provide a platform to discuss, learn, and identify critical areas of need in developing information and best practices to facilitate the successful transition of Latino newcomers into Missouri's communities.  Following the advice of past participants, the conference is providing more time to share with presenters and networking.

The presentations in the conference are mostly the result of a Call for Abstracts announced in November of 2005. The conference format includes five Plenary Sessions, and four blocks of concurrent breakout sessions addressing research, best practices, workshops and discussion panels on the themes of the conference. Also, there will be table display sessions and multiple opportunities for networking.  This conference will also look forward to building common-interest networks that may continue to operate during the year.

The five conference themes are:

  • Change and Wellbeing: social political and economic changes and the approaches to facilitate the inclusion and integration of newcomers in rural and urban communities. Consumer and financial literacy.
  • Civil Rights: legal challenges, human trafficking, political climate, effects of new immigration laws.
  • Education: early to higher and adult education; multiculturalism and addressing diversity, cultural and linguistic differences, parent participation; retention.
  • Health:  disparities, access, quality, cultural competence, language barriers, policies, alternative health providers.
  • Youth, Families, and Communities: leadership, identity, youth development, role of churches in community building, gangs, behavior, mentoring.

Some Fast Facts About Latinos

In the U.S.:

  • Hispanics are the largest and fastest-growing minority ethnic group in the United States
  • Latinos in the U.S. are 40.4 million (2004), accounting for half of the 9.4 million added to the nation’s population since the 2000 Census. Growth rate is 14.4 percent over that 4-year period; near four times that of the total population. (Census Bureau.)
  • Hispanic population of the United States will increase by almost 25 million people by 2020, and second-generation Hispanics will account for 47 percent of that growth. (Pew Hispanic Center)
  • For the first time, second- and third-generation Hispanics account for most of the growth in the Hispanic population, replacing new immigrants, who fueled the growth in the past. (Pew Hispanic Center)

In Missouri:

  • The Latino population almost doubled in Missouri (92%) in the period 1990-2000.  Additionally, estimated Missouri Latino population for the year 2003 is 130,928, up from 118,592 in the 2000 census. (Census Bureau)
  • Latino population has increased in 110 of the 115 counties of the state. Latinos come to Missouri to work. Overwhelmingly, newcomers have steady jobs and pay taxes, and an increasing number buy cars and homes: they are the new Missourians.
  • A growing number of Latinos are starting business of their own in a many different industries.
  • Kansas City ranks eleventh nationally among the fastest growing Latino populations residing in urban centers.
  • Meatpacking rural counties—Sullivan, McDonald, Pettis, Lawrence, Saline, and Jasper—experienced from a 4 to 20-fold increase in Latino population.
  • Small cities, such as Joplin, Branson, Springfield, Columbia, Jefferson City, and Warrensburg have doubled or tripled their representation of Latinos.
This page updated:
18 April, 2006


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