[1] Five Minutes With

Article excerpt

Byline: Kristin Larson

Luis Pelayo, president and founder of the Hispanic Council.

Age: 35.

Lives in: Bensenville.

Works in: Bensenville.

Why did you found the Hispanic Council? The Hispanic Council was founded when a group of intellectuals got together and saw that there was a need for the Latino community to understand the necessary steps to become a part of the American society as a whole.

What does the foundation do? We facilitate the process of assimilation for the Latino community. Our purpose is twofold: First, we educate the new immigrants to bring them up to date as to what is expected from them - what the rules, regulations and laws are; on the other hand, we educate the rest of the community as to who we are in order to decrease the fears and ignorance that results in xenophobia.

How does the foundation succeed in this? Our interest is to work on the causes of immigration, lack of political stability, lack of jobs, lack of social justice and so forth.

What would be the ideal situation? The U.S. should demand that true democratic changes occur in countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and so on. In order to stop immigration, you have to take the necessary steps to change the political process in the places that people are coming from.

What's the foundation's greatest achievement so far? The Hispanic Council has carried out a number of projects; the most successful has been the volunteer attorney project. …