Rural and urban communities throughout the Midwest have been reshaped by the arrival of large numbers of Latinos, immigrants, and refugees. Over the past fifteen years, the Cambio de Colores (Change of Colors) Conference has served as a hub for stakeholders to take stock of how our communities are adapting to these changes and share experiences of how to improve immigrant integration and community wellbeing. This multidisciplinary conference has traditionally focused on native and foreign-born Latino newcomers (the majority of new arrivals in these new destination areas), but is interested in the challenges inherent in multicultural changing communities, including the experiences of all newcomers, faith groups, and marginalized groups. The integration of these very diverse groups is being studied by academics and pursued by stakeholders, as the newcomers seek to become part and parcel of the social, economic, and cultural fabric of their new communities.
The conference theme this year is “Todos Juntos: Collaboration and Unity in Uncertain Times.” Todos Juntos means “all together”, and seeks to build collaboration across sectors and unite communities across differences in the common goal of supporting everyone’s wellbeing in our changing, multicultural communities. Diversity is our strength, especially when we work together, and now is the time for collaboration across disciplines, silos, sectors, perspectives and cultures to create bridges of opportunity.
The coming year will be one of uncertainty for many communities as unknown changes in national policy and local contexts unfold. Potential changes in national policies in immigration, healthcare, education, and others will affect many in changing communities, especially as it is not clear whether the wellbeing and needs of newcomers and ethnic and religious minorities will be valued or recognized. Local contexts have already seen changes due to the impact of anti-immigrant and other intolerant discourses, which have empowered some individuals and groups to be more vocal and active in proclaiming hate. Collaborative unity across sectors can help to stabilize and protect communities as these changes develop.
The conference convenes public and private service providers, grassroots and advocacy organizations, education and healthcare providers, academic researchers, students and extension specialists, state and local government institutions, policymakers, corporations, and newcomers themselves. The conference program focuses and builds on the sharing of university, government, and community resources, linking academic studies to the more applied perspective and best practices of people and institutions working at the heart of changing communities. This synergy is the signature characteristic of this conference, which engages a wide array of stakeholders as individuals, organizations, and communities invested in economic and social development.
Cambio de Colores serves as a unique venue to share, learn, discuss, and identify critical areas where the development of information and promising practices will facilitate the successful transition of newcomers into communities large and small. The conference organizers seek presentations, posters, and panels on the conference themes described in this call, as well as workshops targeted to community members, leaders, and officials with the tools necessary to address these changes in ways that are sustainable and beneficial to all. See details about submissions and theme groups in the following pages.
Extended Education Track: New this year, Quality Teachers for English Learners, led by University of Missouri-St. Louis’s Dr. Kim Song, and the Missouri Dual Language Network are co-hosting an Extended Education Track on Language, Literacy, and Culture during the final day of the conference and the day after (June 16-17). Submissions are invited for the main conference plus the extended education days that are focused on English Learners (ELs), bilingual education, dual language immersion education, the development of welcoming schools, and so on! Details are in the Education description on page 7 of the Call for Presentations.
Led by the University of Missouri, Cambio de Colores is a collaborative effort that includes University of Missouri Extension, the campuses of the Missouri system, and other educational institutions across the United States, as well as government and private organizations. Since 2009, the conference has benefited from the cooperation of the interstate initiative on “Latinos and Immigrants in Midwestern Communities,” North Central Education and Research Activity 216 (NCERA 216), and since 2015, has benefited from the cooperation of the Missouri Dual Language Network (MODLAN).