This week’s Hometown Heroes are Eliazar Pasado, Bridget Richards, and the rest of the staff at El Centro Hispano, a Chapel Hill/Carrboro organization. What brought El Centro Hispano into the spotlight recently is its work in assisting local Hispanic/Latinos to navigate the intimidating world of immigration, including programs like DACA, in the current political climate.

According to its mission statement, the organization works “to strengthen the community, build bridges and advocate for equity and inclusion for Hispanics/Latinos in the Triangle Area of North Carolina.” Founded in 1992 as the Hispanic Resource Center, El Centro Hispano became an independent nonprofit organization in 1997 offering service, education, leadership development and community organizing. In 2000, with partnership from other organizations, the El Centro opened up the first Latino Community Credit Union in the state of North Carolina. Over time, it has become to largest grassroots Latino organization in the state, with a roster of over 1,000 dues-paying members and connections with more than 10,000 community members every year.