‘Our population was getting left behind’: Ibero-American Action League serves Latino community through pandemic

Hispanic Heritage Month

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Ibero-American Action League has been serving Monroe County since 1968, as a resource for our local Latino community.  It was originally formed to help local Latinos find employment opportunities during the days of Kodak and Xerox. Ibero still provides those same services, but has flourished into much more. The organization serves as an incubator for many successful projects around town, including La Marketa.

Angelica Perez-Delgado is the CEO and president of Ibero-American Action League. She said she is reminded everyday of her duty to serve her community.

“Ibero has shaped everything we have come to love about Rochester and being Latino,” Perez-Delgado said.

Being the largest dual language organization outside of New York City – Ibero’s mission is to advocate for the advancement of the Latino community.

“Originally, Ibero was birthed to really influence the employments in Kodak and Xerox, and the Monroe County Department of social services back in those early days when Latino’s really just did not have the same opportunities as our white counterparts did so really a driving force,” Perez-Delgado said.

Perez-Delgado said her role as CEO became especially eye-opening when the pandemic hit.

“We as a community with Latinos, we are often victims of invisibility, we’re not always visible and that has really become apparent in the pandemic,” Perez-Delgado said. “It was really scary to see how much of our population was getting left behind these past 2 years and how fast we needed to react to that.”

Ibero was able to overcome language barriers when getting covid information to their community by convening over 50 Latino faith leaders, arts culture leaders, and creating a Latin-x roundtable. Perez-Delgado said the way to respond to this internal crisis was by dividing and concurring.

“That part for us has been the most exciting part because we were kind of going through this pandemic with a strong sense of family that we responded to this community together, that Ibero is beyond these four walls, and it’s really a collective of people coming together to serve this community,” Perez-Delgado said

Perez-Delgado said her end goal as CEO and President is to transform communities, one neighborhood at a time.

She said, “In my ideal state, Ibero won’t be needed one day because every organization will be culturally inclusive and culturally responsive but unfortunately that’s still not our reality.”

In a five-year plan – Perez-Delgado hopes La Marketa in the North Clinton corridor will take off and become the cornerstone to business development in Rochester. She said the Puerto Rican festival taking place near the Marketa this year was a promising sign that in 5 years’ time, that area will look a lot different than it does today.

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