Mexican Hometown Associations and Mexican Immigrant Political Empowerment in Los Angeles

Carol Zabinand Luis Escala Rabadan

Article details the activities and leadership structure of three Los Angeles-based Mexican “hometown associations” (HTAs)—organizations linking together immigrants from the same point of origin through (primarily) social and cultural activities in the new area, and projects for the betterment of the hometown. The authors describe the social and philanthropic activities common to most HTAs, while also noting major differences between organizations. A key point of investigation is the political involvement of the HTAs studied, and the potential for these organizations to emerge as progressive forces in immigrant rights and social justice battles. Finding reluctance on the part of many HTA leaders and members to move beyond culturally oriented activities, the authors explore internal conflicts over increased political activism, and offer possible reasons for the general lack of political involvement.