Skip to comments.Latino group calls for unity and focus on socioeconomics - (AZ-based Immigrants Without Borders)
Posted on 09/09/2006 3:48:08 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
LOS ANGELES Immigrants Without Borders is an Arizona-based assistance organization. It doesn't have the multimillion-dollar funding of national Latino organizations, nor does it have their fame.
But this regional group has something the others don't: the ability to mobilize immigrants, to organize marches like the ones seen in the past few months and a long list of community contacts.
Bringing these two sides together and the development of a long-term social and economic strategy for Latinos are among the goals of the National Latino Congress. Some 1,300 leaders and activists from across the nation are attending the event, which began Wednesday and ends tomorrow. Organizers are calling it the largest gathering of Latino leaders in nearly 30 years.
Some of the nation's best-known and oldest organizations called the meeting, including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; the League of United Latin American Citizens; the William C. Velasquez Institute, a research center based in San Antonio; and the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, which carries out voter registration drives in Latino communities.
These organizations have already established their credibility and track record, they receive funding for Latinos, and do their work, but they don't have many members, said Elis Bermúdez of Immigrants Without Borders. We can inject the passion they need.
Latino activists from across the country have been unable to duplicate the massive marches seen in March, April and May. There have been several sparsely attended rallies this month, and more demonstrations are planned. The organizers of Latino the congress are planning one today.
One of the main goals of the congress is to bring together established national organizations with regional groups, such as Immigrants Without Borders.
Last spring, the massive immigrant marches gave birth to a new generation of leaders, as well as new organizations that haven't been working with the established Latino leadership, said Antonio González, president of the William C. Velásquez Institute and the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project.
Because of the anti-immigrant tone in this country, there is a great need to work together and unite, he said at the event's opening Wednesday at the Sheraton Hotel downtown.
González used the session to underscore the importance of working on issues such as economic development and the educational underachievement of Latinos and to formulate a plan of action.
He also criticized news coverage that concluded the spring protests had not led to a significant increase of registered voters.
The slogan Today we march, tomorrow we vote, González said, will take time to become a reality. He said registration efforts targeting Latinos and keyed to the November election have just begun.
He announced that television commercials will begin airing this week, in English and Spanish, to encourage people to register and vote.
We are going to start to see results in mid-October, González said.
Immigrants without borders is like Criminals without Jails.
"Give me liberty (in Mexico) or give me death"