On April 24, over 400 Latino leaders from across California came to our state capitol to proclaim: Latinos are a Force!
From the Inland Empire to the Central Valley, grassroots leaders came together to begin the hard work of preparing for the 2020 Presidential Election and the 2020 Census. With over 7.7 million eligible Latino voters in the next primary election, we have the power to tilt the direction of our country towards justice. And with the 2020 Census also around the corner, Latinos are the key to secure California’s right to political representation and federal dollars.
The Summit began with an inspiring performance from Jose Cordon from One Day at a Time (ODAT) who called on all of us to rise up and use our voices to advocate for change.
LCF CEO Jacqueline Martinez Garcel and Chief of Staff to Governor Gavin Newsom, Ann O’Leary, followed by providing us the context for the day. “We exist in a moment of time that demands all of us to lead,” said Jacqueline. When the citizenship question on the next census hangs in the balance, Ann told Summit attendees “We need to keep up the fight for a fair and accurate census count in California!”
In “How the Latino Community Can Save our Nation’s Democracy,” Ditas Katague (State Census Director), Melina Sanchez (Program Officer of the James Irvine Foundation), and Luis Sanchez (Executive Director of Power California) called on all us to ensure that we are registering every young person to vote and to see themselves as critical to the census count. As Ditas mentioned, “Latino youth are the guardians of our democracy!”
In “Running to Win: Latino Leadership in Today’s Political Landscape,” State Senator Melissa Hurtado, Delano City Councilmember Bryan Osorio, Kingsburg City Councilmember Jewel Hurtado, and Tulare County Supervisor Eddie Valero shared their stories around their historic runs for office. As Senator Hurtado exclaimed, “I needed to advocate for my community. I’m the first Latina to represent a district that is 60% Latino. I see the Central Valley as the land of opportunity!”
State Senator Maria Elena Durazo and Vice Chair of the Latino Caucus closed the Summit by rallying attendees to continue fighting for the Latino community. “We don’t want charity. We want an equal shot at dignity and opportunity as everyone else in California!”
Following the Summit, attendees participated in over 60 legislative visits to promote and elevate the California Latino Agenda. When Latinos continue to face disparities in areas such as health, education, and housing, we used our collective power to elevate our voices and champion the solutions that we know work for our community.
The day ended with a fun, hope-filled Latino Leaders reception where the Chair of the Latino Caucus, Lorena Gonzalez once again called on all us to participate actively in our next election and census.