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Monday, February 08, 2010

LULAC Young Adults Meeting: Fighting Discrimination on All Levels

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On the scene: this is a post by M.E. Broderick.

Joel Trujillo, a Facebook friend of mine, asked me to attend a LULAC Young Adults meeting on February 5th at UNM. It was a Friday night, and I was beat from the long week of work and various political events and meetings but, boy, am I ever glad I attended. What an interesting, active group of young Latinos, Hispanics, active young adults. Joel encouraged me to attend one day when I was lamenting over the continuing battles over LGBT civil rights. As Joel, the group's president, told me, “We all have to fight against any discrimination anywhere to anyone.”

After attending Friday’s event, I now understand a little bit about LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), what the organization has accomplished, and how they are fighting discrimination on every level right now. The group was founded 81 years ago and, in fact, the 81st LULAC National Convention and Expo is going to be held right here in Albuquerque on July 12 -17, 2010.

The Young Adults meeting had a variety of speakers including Brent Wilkes, the Executive Director of LULAC in DC. He explained what the national LULAC is involved with, and what the Obama Administration is doing for the various struggles facing our Hispanic population. I found that their struggles are very similar to the struggles LGBT folks like me face -- discrimination, second class citizenship, separate but equal treatment, being seen as inferior, being told to get out of our country or not to marry this one or that. The prejudices are similar, though they vary in the particulars. 

Hispanics are told they shouldn’t speak Spanish; GLBT folks are told they shouldn’t be themselves in public. Latinos are told they’re not like “us” because they might have dark eyes and darker skin; LGBT folks are told they’re not like “us” because of their sexual identities. The message is the same -- you are not like “us” so you shouldn’t have equal rights or fair treatment.

LULAC Executive Director Brent Wilkes discusses organization's history and accomplishments

At the meeting, it was fantastic to watch the interaction between the participants and the speakers -- accomplished Hispanics presenting to a group of promising, hardworking young adults. The spirit in the room was strong and positive. As one speaker said, “One of you or many of you in this room right now will be our new Hispanic leaders. But you must get engaged, work hard and learn how you can shape the future. There is plenty to do and you can do it.”

Senator Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque) was the keynote speaker for the evening. The Senator arrived late from a long day of legislating for the people of New Mexico. Sen. Lopez had an engaged audience listening intently. She explained her past, her parent’s struggles and the accomplishments of her life for the people. She spoke about breaking her own glass ceiling by being the first female Hispanic legislator from her machismo district in the South Valley. She said she is running for Lieutenant Governor because she believes she can make a difference. She talked about the bills she is involved in and the legislative session that is currently going on. Everyone in the room paid close attention.

Sen. Lopez discusses Hispanic heritage and her dual language bill

The young LULAC members asked her some tough questions. Folks asked about the budget and the funding of higher education. “Will there be cuts?” There were questions about the bilingual (dual language) bill Sen. Lopez is carrying (SB 166). Participants also directed questions to the national LULAC Executive Director including, “What about the immigration reform promised by Obama?” These were knowledgeable young adults at the table asking great questions and caring about others beyond themselves.

I really enjoyed the meeting and am so happy there is this another sphere of energy ongoing for equal rights for all. Thanks to Joel for the invite. If you attended the meeting and I left anything out, please add it in the comments.

Sen. Lopez discusses ethics legislation

Story, photos and videos by M.E. Broderick.

February 8, 2010 at 12:13 PM in 2008 Bernalillo County Elections, Civil Liberties, GLBT Rights, Hispanic Issues, Linda Lopez, Minority Issues | Permalink


Mary Ellen you arephenomenal! Thank you so muchfor your support and please believe LULAC young adults are here to make an impact! We serve as a non-partisan organization but civil rights of any kind are important to us. And at the end of the day we just want the respect and dignity God gave us! and we won't let anyone hold us down. LULAC Young Adults Council President. Joe'L Trujillo

Posted by: Joe'L Trujillo | Feb 8, 2010 12:34:49 PM

I am real glad you invited me Joel. Keep up the hard work!

Posted by: mary ellen | Feb 9, 2010 7:01:41 AM