The CHIC annual conference attracts young Latino leaders (interns and fellows), members of Congress, Latino professionals, leaders, members of the Cabinet, strategists and media specialists among many other people who are interested on knowing about the current trends among the Latino communities in the United States.
According to the organizers this year's CHCI Conference has attracted more than 850 attendees, but the number is more likely to increase as some people have registered today in-site. This year’s conference is focusing in the contributions of the Latino communities to this nation, in “our quest to the American dream”.
The highlights of today were the Opening Plenary “Americas’ Future: Economic Prosperity” with the participation of Rep. Xavier Becerra, the Secretary of Treasury, Timothy Geithner; the Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, and Rep. Nydia Velasquez who is the CHIC Chair. This event was especially popular, the media credentials were not enough for the number of journalists.
In the afternoon, the panel “America’s Strenght: Immigration Reform” got a lot of attention because of the prescence of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, who in my opinion seemed defensive when the panelists and a member of the audience asked her about the negative consequences of the anti-immigrant policies of the Obama administration. Senator Bob Melendez and Rep. Luis Gutierrez did not show up.
During her presentation, Janet Napolitano had an [a bit intense] exchange of opinions with the moderator, journalist Maria Hinojosa (whom I interviewed afterwards). Napolitano said at the end of her presentation, that president Obama and herself support the DREAM Act and a comprehensive Immigration Reform. In other words, more promises.
These were the panels included during today’s Latino Leaders Summit Series:
- The Census and Redistricting: The Future is Now, which focused mostly in the demographic changes in the country, which should translate into a bigger political power among Latinos.
- Mental Health in the Latino Community (mucho locos among us). This panel covered the needs of mental health among Latinos, a group with one of the highest suicide rates in the country.
- Latinos and the Job Crisis: it talked about ways to cut barriers that make Latinos’ undemployment rate of 12.4 percent comparing to the national average of 9.5 and ways to “put America back to work”.
- Increasing College Graduation Rates for Latinos: Considering that the Latino population is the fastest growing in the country, this panel discussed on the need to increase access to queality education for our youth.
At the end of today's program, there was presentation about about Latino children nutrition and obesity, which was almost empty, that was sad to see! But I guess that after the Immigration panel, most people left for tonight’s program (and later on to party in DC...).
Right now, there is a ceremony at the Organization of the Americas States (OAS) building, to celebrate the Spanish heritage of Latinos “in the 200th anniversary of the independence of Central and South American countries, and the 400th anniversary of the founding of Santa Fe” in New Mexico. There will be attending the Ambassadors of Colombia, Ecuador, Spain, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala and the U.S. Representative to the OAS.
I have conducted several interviews that I will post later on Youtube. This year’s conference seems to be very well organized, as one of the few acredited blogger I have recibed all the needed assistance from the CHCI staff, and the location is really nice, except by its name. One of the thing I like the most, is the spacious and well designed Microsoft bag provided by the conference.
Tomorrow I will continue with more reports, photos and commentaries, when First Lady Michelle Obama comes to the CHIC conference..