For more than 30 years the Hispanic American Council — a non-profit, community organization has sought to serve the Latino community in the greater Kalamazoo area. As a liaison between potential clients and service agencies, the Council seeks to meet the needs of a special population often hindered by language barriers, cultural differences, and unfamiliarity with service agencies and institutions.
Through the programs and services offered, the goal of the Council is to assist Hispanics in attaining self-sufficiency and a higher level of social and economic well-being. The Council also strives to nourish and encourage the diverse cultural heritage of the Hispanic population.
The Hispanic American Council has been advocating and providing culturally sensitive services for Hispanics since 1981. In the early 1970’s, a group of Hispanics affiliated with St. Joseph’s Catholic Church met regularly to recite the rosary and discuss issues affecting the Hispanic community.
When an elected official made a public racial remark this group organized into The Spanish-Speaking Steering Committee to educate the community about Hispanics, their needs, and their contributions to Kalamazoo. This committee grew into the Hispanic American Council and became a 501(c)3 organization in January 1981.
On November 2nd of 2017, El Concilio becomes the new official name of the Hispanic American Council – El Concilio will continue serving the Latino community of greater Kalamazoo and partners.
Fund Development and Communication Manager
As a member of the Latinx community, I believe that it is part of my responsibility to continue being the voice for progressive and long-term changes to ensure the present and future Latinx generations have more inclusivity, equity and justice in the community they live in. Gracias to my parents for their support, love and teachings.
Fund Development/Administrative Assistant
I like working at El Concilio because we do such important work in the Latinx community of Kalamazoo and I love promoting that work during cultural events and to our sponsors. In my spare time, I love reading, knitting, watching shows, and spending time outdoors.
Juliana C. Hafner
Director of Programs
I joined El Concilio because I am passionate about using my skills and privilege to empower and help my community to reach their best selves. I believe that in order to grow as a community we need to be united, highlight one and other and share our truth. I love walking with my husband and dog, explore small towns and appreciate the architecture. I enjoy having dinner with friends and find a book that sucks me in that I cannot stop reading until I am done. I am from Colombia and I am the oldest of two sisters. I speak Portuguese.
Academia Azteca Coordinator
I joined El Concilio for its mission and vision. As part of this community, it makes me happy to be able to break down barriers. Barriers that sometimes prevent our community members from developing professionally and personally to their fullest. I have a son his name is Max, I also have a pet tortoise and a dog. I enjoy playing soccer.
Community Development Specialist
I joined El Concilio to help and support the Latino community and to learn. I really like music, spending time with my family and having fun.
I joined El Concilio because I wanted to support the Hispanic Community of Southwest Michigan and I wanted to be able to support youth from many different backgrounds. My family is Indigenous American to the Southwest U.S. and Northern Mexico. I graduated from WMU and have been in Kalamazoo for 5 years. I really enjoy learning about investing, making short films, playing video games, and creating community events for people to come together.
I joined El Concilio as a volunteer for one of my education classes in Spring of 2020 (just before COVID hit) and then Juliana offered me a job here as a tutor. The rest is history. I’ve always wanted to teach ESL, and work with children, especially children of immigrants, or immigrant children themselves. El Concilio is the perfect place for me. I’m teaching myself Spanish and a couple other languages. I like to read, cook, bake, and play video games. I also have 4 pet rats, 3 dogs, several fish, and many cats.
I joined El Concilio because I am passionate about helping others and I feel I can make a large impact on the community by providing high quality early childhood education. My wife Alexis and I have a two year old daughter and we like to spend time outside gardening, taking walks to the park, and going on bike rides.
Preschool Lead Teacher
I believe that play is the highest form of learning. Through play, children learn how to be tomorrow’s future scientists, architects, and doctors. I am so thankful to be working at Escuelita Nuevo Horizonte with the support of El Concilio. Together we strive to make a difference in tomorrow’s future leaders. Also, I have a calico cat whose name is Haiku and my hobbies include meditating, going on nature walks, and hiking.
Healthy eating is an important part of a child’s development. Healthy eating supports the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional well-being of a child. I am so grateful to El Concilio for giving me the opportunity to be a part of Escuelita Nuevo Horizonte’s team. In working at the school I get to be a part of children’s healthy eating choices throughout the day.
Community Engagement Manager
Board of Directors
Jose Alexis Mejia