COLUMBUS - This past Monday, the Columbus City Council proclaimed November Heartland Workers Center Month.

Heartland Workers Center said it started out in Omaha with the goal of building leadership within the Hispanic and Latino community.

It has since expanded into more rural communities, with a focus on three programs: Civic engagement, leadership development and workers' rights.

The organization's Grand Island community organizer Raul Larcos says Monday's proclamation gives them a spotlight.

“Part of the reason why we wanted to have this proclamation…in all of the communities that we’re working was to recognize the work that we’ve done not only in Omaha, but the the work we’re doing now across the state and how we’re bringing these communities together to build one Nebraska,” Larcos said.

Mayor Jim Bulkley has noticed their efforts.

“Its essence is any of our newer citizens in Columbus that maybe feel underrepresented, need a voice, need somebody to be able to turn to for some help and for some assistance,” Bulkley said.

He said the organization's work to educate citizens has a tremendous impact.

Larcos said the proclamation also coincides with the biennial political conventions they’re holding in five towns this week, including Columbus and Schuyler.

HCW said community members will be there, along with local officials and organizations to address issues facing them.

“We’re focusing more on the issues and how do we find solutions or how do we find these opportunities not only with city officials, but with other organizations that could potentially be allies or partners in finding these solutions,” Larcos said.

Schedule of conventions:

-Nebraska City:
Wednesday, November 6
Lewis and Clark Visitor Center
100 Valmont Dr.
Nebraska City, NE. 68410

-Grand Island: 
Thursday, November 7
Kinkaider Brewing Co.
316 N. Pine St.
Grand Island, NE. 68801

Friday, November 8
St. Mary’s Social Center
320 W. 10th St.
Schuyler, NE. 68661

Saturday, November 9
Columbus Housing Authority
2554 40th Ave.
Columbus NE. 68601

Sunday, November 10
Girls Inc.
2811 N. 45th St.
Omaha, NE. 68104