Last week, the Latino Community Foundation (LCF) entered the international arena to meet with government representatives, nonprofit organizations, and civil society advocates at the IX Summit of the Americas, the perennial gathering of heads of state in the Western Hemisphere.
To mimic the spirit of the first Summit of the Americas that took place 28 years ago in Miami, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Rio Porciuncula – also known as Los Angeles – was the prime location to host the diverse group of attendees across the Americas.
Los Angeles is home to one of the largest Latino populations in the United States, many of which have roots in Latin American countries, and the city represents to many immigrants’ both opportunity and possibilities. That thread that is woven into the culture of the golden city is what made Los Angeles the perfect location for this year’s summit. California Governor Gavin Newsom and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti opened the Inaugural Ceremony by welcoming guests to the city that doesn’t tolerate its diversity, but that celebrates it.
President Joe Biden took the stage and reminded guests the responsibility the region has to each other. He declared that:
“At this summit, we have an opportunity for us to come together around some bold ideas, ambitious actions, and to demonstrate to our people the incredible power of democracies to deliver concrete benefits and make life better for everyone.”
The LCF Policy Team took advantage of the Summit by speaking with various stakeholders on priority issues, both within and outside US borders, that seek to uplift the livelihood of the most vulnerable Latino communities. The three thematic working groups that the policy team participated in centered the conversations around democratic governance, health resiliency, and digital transformation. Each working group was designed to allow social actors and civil societies within their regions to draft recommendations for the Hemispheric Dialogue Forum.
LCF had a vital role in this process that stretched beyond participation. This past May, LCF’s Aída Álvarez Civic Leadership Fellow, Francisco Barajas, was selected to present at the Hemispheric Dialogue, representing the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, the digital transformation political recommendations.
On behalf of his thematic working group, he implored governments to recognize internet access as a human right and to create a safer broadband ecosystem that includes all people. COVID-19 made it evidently clear that broadband access is crucial in ensuring economic, political and social mobility. He stated that:
“It is no longer effective to approach the future of digital societies based on affordability. In order to truly promote an inclusive cyber world, governments should collaborate together to develop a Universal Declaration of Digital Rights.”
Francisco continued his efforts by co-facilitating a dialogue session with stakeholders across the hemisphere to exchange knowledge and ideas for a more prosperous cyber society that is inclusive of all people.
LCF continues to show up and is fully committed to mobilizing Latino communities, whether it is here at home or abroad. Participating at the IX Summit of the Americas signaled to our families in Latin America that we are advocating and protecting the general welfare of their loved ones who have left home in pursuit of the American Dream. The emerging challenges that were born from the pandemic mean that cooperation across all stakeholders is key to transforming democratic systems to help bring dignity and equality for all people, and LCF is an essential thought partner to help world leaders unlock the potential of the region’s future.
Francisco Barajas presenting the political recommendations for digital transformation at the Hemispheric Dialogue on May 6th, 2022, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Los Angeles.
The Policy Team with US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the Atlantic Council, “The Joint Future of the Caribbean Working with Latin America” dinner on June 10th, 2022, at the Jonathan Club in Los Angeles. (pictured left to right: Francisco Barajas, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Christian Arana, Eduardo Garcia)