The mission of the Gastón Institute is to inform policy makers about issues vital to the state’s growing Latino community and to provide this community with the information and analysis necessary for effective participation in public policy development.
The Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy was established in 1989 at the University of Massachusetts Boston by the Massachusetts State Legislature at the behest of Latino community leaders and scholars in response to a need for improved understanding of the Latino experience in the Commonwealth. The Institute honors the memory of Mauricio Gastón, a Cuban native and a long-time community activist in Boston who taught in the Community Planning Center at UMass Boston’s College of Public and Community Service from 1980 to the time of his death in 1986.
A hallmark of the work of the Institute has been its consistent attention to the information and research needs of and about the Latino community. The Institute has consistently documented the Latino experience in Massachusetts through research and publications directed at scholarly audiences as well policy makers and Latino community leaders and institutions. A strong set of community partnerships supports the planning and execution of key public events such as the biennial Statewide Latino Public Policy Conferences. An Advisory Board made up of UMass Boston faculty and Latino community leaders from throughout the state, guides the research agenda of the Institute. The Gastón Institute is a member of the Inter-University Program for Latino Research, a national membership organization of university-based Latino research institutes.