During the mid-1990's, the Latino population began to increase dramatically in the metro Birmingham area. Isabel Rubio, then a social worker at UAB, took note of this influx and posed the question: Who, if anyone, was working with immigrant Latinos to make sure they were supported in transitioning to life in an unfamiliar society? As a result, ¡HICA! was created in 1999 to address concerns relating to healthcare access, education, economic development, legal issues and community outreach for immigrant Latinos.
¡HICA! is a community development and advocacy organization that champions economic equality, civic engagement, and social justice for Latino and immigrant families in Alabama.
¡HICA! envisions an Alabama in which everyone has full and equal participation in our state's civic, cultural, social, and economic life. Hispanic and immigrant families are empowered to integrate, engage, and lead their communities to reach their families' aspirations.
Though our focus on empowerment is singular in nature, our reasons for doing what we do are as diverse as the people we serve. At ¡HICA!, we believe that a society cannot reach its full potential without all of its people. We believe that immigrant integration is a two-way street—empowering newcomers to the area so that they may better adapt, and educating the community itself to better welcome them. We believe that an inclusive community enriches us all, and that societal intolerance can consistently be bested by the power and plight for social justice, equality, and humanity for all.
When you have a group of people who spend most of their days dedicated to social integration, they tend to favor social interaction as their primary form of communication.