Business, community and political leaders from across the U.S. will unite in the Alamo City as 20,000 people attend the 88th League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Convention.
This year’s LULAC National Convention and Exposition, July 4 – 8, will be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, 900 E. Market Street. It will address the most pressing issues for the Latino community including immigration and the new administration’s cutbacks on education, health and human services. Most activities, except meal events, are free and open to the public with further details at www.lulac.org.
Speakers include LULAC national president Roger Rocha, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, member of U.S. House of Representatives Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Diana Arevalo (D-San Antonio), State Representative House District 116. Highlights of the convention include Investing in Tomorrow’s Leaders Press Conference, Stop Deportations of Military and Gold-Star Families Workshop and an Alternative Facts = Discrimination Workshop.
“We have been doing that since 1929, and we are coming back to show that LULAC is fighting hard for our community,” expounded Brent Wilkes, executive director of LULAC. “We think it’s important to fight back and the best way to do that is to come to the place that is most impacted by the issue and that will stand up and fight for the community.”
As of July 1, 2015, there are 56.6 million Hispanics in the United States and 10.7 million live in Texas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. About 63.4 percent of Hispanic or Latino-origin in the United States were of Mexican origin in 2015. Another 9.5 percent were Puerto Rican, 3.8 percent Salvadoran, 3.7 percent Cuban, 3.3 percent Dominican and 2.4 percent Guatemalan. The remainder was of other Central American, South American or other Hispanic or Latino origin.
It is projected that the Hispanic population of the United States will increase to 119 million by 2060 and will constitute 28.6 percent of the nation’s population by that date, according to Hispanic Heritage Month.
As the country reacts to policy shifts from the Trump Administration, there have been unintended consequences of such a hard line on immigration including the border wall, deportations and Texas’ SB 4. The national convention would like to focus on how the United States must continue its leadership in the world both economically and politically, without eliminating those who are already in the workforce.
Another important hot topic in the White House is the proposed Trumpcare Act that can potentially cut 23 million people off their health insurance. LULAC plans to hold a number of workshops and sessions on health care that consists of opposing Trumpcare and perhaps even some suggestions about the evolution of Obamacare to create a more cost-effective system that covers those who need health insurance.
“Our focus is to not just support the Affordable Care Act, but also look to the future in terms of what needs to be changed to make it stronger and valid. The clauses could be fixed without trashing the whole bill,” continued Wilkes.
LULAC has also made the efforts to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as a top priority since 2016. The organization is currently working with Congress and the White House to focus on creating a program that would be legislative. It is LULAC’s goal to have the DREAM act to get passed by congress and to ensure that DREAMers are able to become legal residents and eventually citizens.
Ultimately, the organization plans to get community members engaged in programs to help them weigh in on such pressing issues. One way to do that is to talk to people eager to create a difference with a host of resources.
“One of the things that is unique about this year’s conference is that we have got a lot of new technological strategies,” confirmed Wilkes. “For example, we are doing a texting campaign where we engage members. We will be talking about how to organize in the modern age with digital tools and social media.”
For more information, visit www.lulac.org.