From San Diego, Stockton, LA and Oakland, members of National Council of La Raza’s (NCLR) affiliates have been streaming into the state capitol Tuesday and Wednesday for the California Regional Office’s annual CA Latino Advocacy Day. They converge on Sacramento to exercise one of the oldest and perhaps most ignored privileges of democracy – to connect face-to-face with their elected leaders.
Even as survey after survey confirms Californians’ growing disaffection with our state elected leaders, these community leaders and activists from throughout the state arrive cautiously optimistic. People like Jose Rodriguez, president and CEO of El Concilio in Stockton, whose organization advocates for education, health and affordable housing for Latinos in the San Joaquin Central Valley. Jose is concerned how state budget cuts will impact working-class families his agency serves.
Maria Quezada, CEO of the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), is here to advocate for education reform. She’s also conducting an issues briefing on education for NCLR Advocacy Day participants.
Several Latino state legislators paid their respects to NCLR members at a reception Tuesday night. State Assembly Members Luis Alejo, Gil Cedillo, Tony Mendoza, Victor Manual Perez and Nora Campos welcomed the “delegates” and encouraged them to continue to stay active and involved – not only in their respective communities – but also in Sacramento.
Delia de la Vara, VP of NCLR’s Western Region, and the Advocacy Day organizer, introduced NCLR President and CEO, Janet Murguia, who traveled from Washington, DC to officially convene the two-day event. Murguia reminded the crowd the 300 or so Californians expected to participate in this Advocacy Day to remember they speak for thousands of others who don’t have the opportunity to confront their elected leaders about their concerns – education, health and jobs.
We’ll have photos of the activities on our Facebook page as well as a video of the event early next week.