DemDaily: Latino Leaders Challenge Community

August 7, 2018

Some of the country's most prominent Latino leaders gathered in DC last week to honor The Reverend Luis Cortés, and to underscore the challenges at the forefront of their community under the Trump Administration.

The 54th Latino Leaders Luncheon Series

At the core of those is the Administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy that has resulted in the separation of 3,000 children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

Thursday's event was hosted by the Latino Leaders Network, which, since its founding in 2004, has become the premier forum for "Bringing Leaders Together."

Over 200 powerhouse guests filled the ballroom of the Mayflower Hotel, including representatives from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, UnidosUS, MALDEF, Voto Latino, Victory Institute, NALEO and other organizations that advocate on behalf the 57.5 million Hispanics and Latinos living in the United States.

Through six annual events the Latino Leaders Network brings together dignitaries, public, civic and corporate leaders to establish relationships, build unity, and share their personal stories of obstacles which they have overcome to achieve success.

LLN's Founder and Chair, Mickey Ibarra, who served as White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs under President Bill Clinton, underscored the importance of the latino voice through shared experience and impact at the ballot box.

LLN Founder and Chair Mickey Ibarra

"We are in the same boat and we have to unite to promote improvement within our community. It must be our mission, indeed our obligation, to instill in the next generation an understanding that it is up to them to change the negative narrative coming from the White House and too many other places," said Ibarra.

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced LLN's Eagle Leadership Award recipient, Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr., praising Cortés for his national leadership and positive impact on the lives of Latinos living in the United States. 

"Regardless of our political persuasion, the one thing that is true is, when we do not get engaged and come out and vote, we let others decide our futures for us."  --  Senator Robert Menendez (NJ)

Carmelo Ríos Santiago, "I am angry."

Cortés is founder and President of Esperanza, a network of more than 13,000 Hispanic faith and community-based organizations. The popular Cortés, who delivered the Invocation Prayer at President Obama's 2013 Inaugural Luncheon, spoke to "cultural and Hispanicness," and the fight for the future dignity of "every Latino child's heart."

The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL), which is dedicated to organizing and representing the interests of now over 400 elected Hispanic State legislators throughout the United States and its territories, served as the event community partner.

Puerto Rico Senate Majority Leader and President of NHCSL, Carmelo Ríos Santiago, who spoke on behalf of NHCSL, delivered a passionate oratory.

"For the last two years, it feels like we have been in an overdrive, in a permanent state of emergency; constantly fighting to defend our community, one attack after the other.  Frankly, I don't know about you, but I am angry ... at the cruel images we see on TV of families being separated at the border ... at the reckless effort to fracture our nation by pitting one group against another in a war of Us versus Them .... at the conniving efforts to undercount our people in the 2020 census .. at the Muslim ban, the building of The Wall, the attempt to strip LGBT people of their civil rights .... I know you are angry too."

"I am also angry about the fact that nearly 27 million (Latinos) were eligible to vote, and only 13 showed up at the polls.  We talk about the power of the Latino vote and sometimes it feels like we are drinking our own coolaide." -- Senator Carmelo Ríos Santiago, President of NHCSL

The second-largest ethnic group in the United States, the Latino community compromises approximately 18% of the US population and over 12% of the voting electorate.

Other speakers included an invocation from The Reverend Bonnie Camarda of the Salvation Army, a video tribute from US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, remarks from sponsors Julio Suarez of Anheuser-Busch, McArthur Stephen of GEICO, and recognition of other sponsors Chic-fil-A FoundationPlanned Parenthood Federation of America, and Southwest Airlines.

Upcoming LLN Events (by invitation only): September 21st in Houston, Texas & November 15th in Los Angeles, California



Latino Leaders Speak: Personal Stories of Struggle and Triumph
A collection of 33 keynote addresses by some of our country's most prominent Latino voices -- elected officials, labor, administration, business and faith leaders, an astronaut, journalist, athlete, artist, author and other activists -- who have paved the way for future generations.

Order It Here! Latino-Leaders-Speak


Connecting you to The Party
Connecting you to Each Other

Kimberly Scott

SignUp for the Daily column. Follow DemList on Facebook and Twitter

Related posts

DemDaily: Fraud on the Frontline

DemDaily: Fraud on the Frontline

February 22, 2019 After three months of allegations and investigations into ballot-tampering, the North Carolina Board of Elections voted unanimously yesterday to throw out the results of the...

DemDaily: Faces of the Party

DemDaily: Faces of the Party

February 14, 2019 DemList is at the Democratic National Committee’s Winter Meeting in Washington, DC, and will continue to update you daily on developments with the party and the players...