This past Monday, Congressman Thanedar reached out to our Hispanic community in a first of its kind virtual Town Hall meeting. This online gathering was initiated by the Congressman primarily to listen and learn about our concerns and issues. It was an opening to an even longer and larger ongoing conversation, committing to an open-door relationship with us. He acknowledged our, first time ever, sizeable presence, (10 percent, 80,000 people), in the newly drawn Congressional district.
This event took on an even broader statewide scope with the participation of several outstate Hispanic leaders. The hope is that their involvement serves to galvanize our collective voices on issues of common concern. Together we can formulate pathways and guidance on policy reforms for our representatives to include in their/our legislative initiatives.
His commitment to understanding and working with our community took on national implications when he agreed to pursue caucusing with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The CHC has 34 members, voices and votes that could strengthen and support our state at a pivotal point, having just lost a seat due to population loss. A relationship with the CHC would also contribute to our state’s efforts to become a sanctuary state, welcoming Hispanics, our state’s fastest growing and our nation’s largest minority population. This, coupled with Mexico’s recent elevation to being our country’s largest trading partner, provides a powerful mix of economic dynamics. This environment requires us to double down and recommit ourselves to multi-disciplined education and training at every level.
Congressman Thanedar serves on the Small Business and Homeland Security Committees in the U.S. House of Representatives, which are ideally positioned to support access to federal resources to establish and grow economic opportunities. With his commitment to closing the wealth gap, he is positioned to help us create public/private models of success.
The most important thing about this event is that it happened. It ended with a note of “to be continued” both virtually and in-person. LA SED has already stepped up and volunteered to host an in-person Town Hall. This meeting ushers in a new era of communication with our representative, providing a strong foundation for things to come.
I, for one, look forward to a relationship that will yield unprecedented results for our community. That said, this isn’t the time to wait and see what he does; it’s time to help him, help us. This is a call to action! What happens now will be largely dependent on our response to his outreach. We have a genuine opportunity to influence and shape our futures. This requires us to own our citizenship, including those on a path to citizenship, and take responsibility for our part in what is expected and required to experience governance as it should be; a true, authentic Democracy.
Rogelio Landin is most renowned nationally for leading LULAC in the precedent setting successful filing of an Amicus in the Bradley v. Milliken II (1976-1978) desegregation case. Winning a favorable ruling in this case served to protect and preserve Bilingual education and the designation of minority status as included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This case has had generational national and historical implications for the education of our children and continues to provide for the protection of Hispanic civil rights.