Something as simple as schoolyard gates can play a role in improving the health of low-income communities.

At least that’s what activists in California’s San Joaquin Valley found, according to Genoveva Islas, director of Cultiva La Salud, a Fresno-based organization whose name means “cultivate health” in Spanish.

National Council of La Raza President and CEO Janet Murgia is back in her hometown, and she's brought thousands of people with her for the La Raza's annual conference. She talks with Steve Kraske about her family, politics, and the greatest challenges facing Latinos today. 

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

As the National Council of La Raza prepares to convene its annual conference in Kansas City, a lively and heartfelt conversation about the term 'la raza' -- translated imperfectly as 'the race', but meaning something closer to 'my tribe', 'the big family' or 'my people'. 

Courtesy photo / National Council of La Raza

The National Council of La Raza, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the country, is coming to Kansas City for its annual conference, starting Saturday.

The four-day conference takes place July 11-14 and features workshops and speakers that will address some the most important issues in the Latino community.

This year, the conference includes two 2016 Democratic presidential candidates — Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley. Both will speak on Monday and address important issues facing the Latino community.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

In November, President Obama announced sweeping changes to immigration policy via executive action.

The action, which protects about 4.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States from deportation, has been met with controversy nationwide.

But Hispanic communities in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., say the measure is a step in the right direction.

kpapower / Flickr

The 87-year-old president of La Raza political club in Kansas City, Mo., has been working the same poll in her neighborhood near the Kansas-Missouri state line every Election Day for more than 50 years.

Rafaela "Lali" García has devoted most of her life trying to get Kansas City's Hispanic community in Missouri more involved in local government. She says she proudly has registered hundreds of voters in the Show-Me State in the past few years. 

Immigration reform is a hot topic for legislators nationwide, and this week both President Obama and a bipartisan group of senators proposed changes to immigration policy. In a city located in the dead center of the country, it might seem illegal immigration is not the biggest issue facing Kansas City, but that is not the case.