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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New Book: Latino Politics in Massachusetts

What are the major challenges to Latino political representation in Massachusetts? Carol Hardy-Fanta, director of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, examines these factors in her latest book, Latino Politics in Massachusetts: Struggles, Strategies, and Prospects. At a Gaston Institute Speaker Series lecture on November 30, Hardy-Fanta presented findings from her research in seven Massachusetts cities with significant Latino populations: Boston, Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell, Holyoke, Springfield, and Worcester.

Hardy-Fanta analyzed the unique political and community backdrop in each city to examine how Latinos face different contextual factors and devise strategies for success. In her survey, she took a look at cases such as the role of educational grievances and Latino mobilization in Chelsea, the success of multiracial coalitions in the election of the first Latino legislator in Boston, and Latino political succession and incorporation in Lawrence. Hardy-Fanta believes gains in the Latino representation and influence spur further participation in politics. “Lack of information disempowers Latino communities and depresses political participation,” Hardy-Fanta commented.

This was one of the reasons Hardy-Fanta chose to write about Latinos in Massachusetts. Massachusetts also has been often ignored in Latino political histories. Contrary to the prevailing stereotype of low levels of participation and electoral success, there has been an exponential growth in Latino campaigns in the Commonwealth since the mid-1980s. Hardy-Fanta’s book, published in December by Routledge Press, should fill in this critical lack of information about Massachusetts and Latino politics.

Hardy-Fanta is a nationally recognized scholar on Latina/o politics and has published widely on the intersection of gender, race, and ethnicity in politics and public policy. She has also authored Latina Politics: Gender, Culture, and Political Participation in Boston which was published in 1993.

(This article appeared in The University Reporter)