The Hispanic Alliance of Atlantic County (HAAC) was founded in 1992 by a small group of Latinos determined to advocate for the Hispanic community, foster networking, and promote the diverse Hispanic cultural heritage. For over 20 years, HAAC recognized the importance of education by awarding thousands of dollars in scholarships to Hispanic college students. In addition, HAAC created an annual youth leadership summit and pageant scholarship competition to help young Hispanics unleash their inner potential. The Hispanic Alliance of Atlantic County also supported the community by being a resource of information and unity, as well as uplifted the Hispanic heritage by hosting one of HAAC’s signature events, the Festival Latino Americano, which became one of New Jersey’s premier festivals and was recognized with the Governor’s Award for Cultural Tourism in 1999. Finally, HAAC acknowledged community leaders who demonstrate similar values by recognizing them in the Nuestro Pueblo Awards events.
HAAC faced diminishing monetary resource and a slowdown in human capita due to the economic downturn of 2008 and in turn the migration of Hispanics out of Atlantic County. HAAC became inactive for several years, but in 2018, a resurgence of energy, grit, and anger fueled by the lack of social justice against the Hispanic community, brought together a group of individuals who had a similar mission: To empower, advocate and advance the Hispanic community in the Atlantic County, while fighting to preserved Hispanic cultural heritage. Under the direction of a new Board of Directors, led by original HAAC members and a new generation of Hispanic leaders, a new organization was established, the Hispanic Association of Atlantic County (also referred to as HAAC).
Within a few months of its re-establishment, HAAC has shown its commitment to our community by hosting a Three Kings Day celebration, its first Youth Leadership Summit in 10 years, and co-sponsored the first ever Latino Town Hall conducted in Spanish and English.
HAAC continues to advocate for housing, education, and employment rights for our community through smaller scale projects, including advocating for Police Lieutenant promotions and community resource walks, among others. HAAC continues to explore opportunities that together, with our members and allies, will strengthen our community.