January 12, 2001

National Council of La Raza Honored for Partnership with UAW, GM and the National Safe Kids Campaign

As part of a ceremony honoring the International Union UAW (United Auto Workers), General Motors (GM) and the National SAFE KIDS Campaign (NSKC) for working to reduce the number of child fatalities and injuries in automobile crashes, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) received special acknowledgment from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for its participation in helping Hispanic families keep their children safe in motor vehicles.

From left to right: Delia de la Vara, Director of Affiliate Relations for the NCLR; Harry J. Pearce, Vice Chairman of General Motors; Caya B. Lewis, National Health Coordinator for the NAACP; Karen DiCapua, director of the SAFE KIDS BUCKLE UP program.

In 1999, more than 1,300 children under the age of 8 died in automobile crashes in the U.S. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury related death among children ages 14 and under. Hispanic, Black and Native American children have disproportionate death and injury rates due to higher levels of poverty and lower levels of education, employment and income.

To address this critical issue, GM has sponsored the SAFE KIDS BUCKLE UP (SKBU) program since 1997, investing more than $19 million in community partnerships to support child care seat check up events across the country. The program educates parents and caregivers by offering information and hands-on training through the media. GM dealership, doctors; offices, Head-Start programs and community health organizations.

The UAW, NCLR and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) joined forces with the SKBU program in 1999 in a partnership that represents GM's commitment to General Colin Powell's America's Promise and the country's children. The program includes a donation of $5 million worth of car seats from the UAW and GM to be distributed over a three-year period to low-income families throughout the country. The NAACP and the NCLR provide the means of identifying and reaching at-risk communities.

"Our goal is to save lives and to improve the car safety awareness of families across America," said UAW Vice President Richard Shoemaker. "Helping high risk families to better protect their children, in partnership with GM, the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza, is a wonderful way to demonstrate our concern for the community."

"We're received positive feedback from grateful individual families after receiving the training and the seats," said Delia de la Vara, Director of Affiliate Relations, NCLR. "We learned that the families that have participated in these events may have been able to afford one child safety seat, but to purchase a second or third seat was just not possible."

De la Vara went on to say that it also was helpful that SKBU published program brochures and instructional videos in Spanish and English.

"Several families we serve are limited English-proficient, and information has not previously been available in Spanish," said de la Vara. "Having the information in Spanish has made a significant impact on the use of child safety seats in our community. Families who have undergone the training are also spreading the word and telling other families. We applaud the UAW, GW and the National SAFE KIDS Campaign for this initiative."

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