We look forward to our Leaders in Action Summit by looking back at a year of civic activism

Come to Washington to participate in policy briefings, meet with civic engagement strategists, and connect with peers who are standing up for the Latino community! 2018 UnidosUS Leaders in Action Summit

Over the course of the past year, UnidosUS has been working hard to advance the rights of the Latino community. Despite the current and difficult political climate, we have continued fighting to strengthen opportunities for Hispanics in the United States.

Each year, the 2018 UnidosUS Leaders in Action Summit brings hundreds of activists and community leaders from across the country together for two days of advocacy training and meetings with representatives on Capitol Hill. This year the event will take place March 21-22 at the Capitol Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Advocates will participate in policy briefings, meet with civic engagement strategists, and connect with people who are also interested in defending and advancing the rights of the Latino community. And we’re excited to announce that Senator Cory Booker will be giving the keynote speech at our Wednesday luncheon!


The Leaders in Action Summit is a great opportunity to learn about the issues you care about to move your community forward.

We at UnidosUS try to embody the principles of the Action Summit every day through the work we do to strengthen opportunities for Latinos.

Here’s a look back at some of the issues we’ve worked on since the last Action Summit.

2018 UnidosUS Leaders in Action Summit
Representative John Lewis, here with UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía, gave the keynote speech at the 2017 Community Leaders Action Summit.


When we closed in on 100 days in Donald Trump’s presidency, we asked our Action Network to share their thoughts and feelings on the president’s work in office. More than 1,400 people shared their stories about how the president’s policies had personally affected them.

As we expand access to the American Dream, checking in with our Action Network helps us better understand how the Latino community is being affected by the Trump administration’s policies.

2018 UnidosUS Leaders in Action SummitDEFENDING DACA

On December 7, Clarissa Martinez de Castro, Deputy Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at UnidosUS, joined an act of civil disobedience on Capitol Hill to highlight the urgency of passing a clean DREAM Act.

There we joined thousands of other activists from around the country to say that a solution is needed for our brothers and sisters who were thrust into uncertainty by the Trump administration’s cruel and arbitrary decision to end the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which gave young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children a temporary, renewable deferral of deportation and work permit. During this action, she, like other activists present, was arrested for protesting.

And in January, on the eve of the government shutdown, UnidosUS joined together with 44 other Latino rights organizations and 150 DREAMers to demand that Congress include relief for DREAMers in the spending bill.

While the courts have stepped in and issued injunctions against the termination of DACA, we know these legal measures are temporary fixes and this situation could change at any moment.

During the Leaders in Action Summit, we will provide an update on the effects of the court injunctions, as well as the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the suit against DACA, and equip advocates with the information they need to advocate for a clean DREAM act and inform DACA recipients about their potential eligibility to renew their status.

2018 UnidosUS Leaders in Action Summit


On November 19, UnidosUS marched alongside thousands of concerned citizens during the Unity March for Puerto Rico. The march was intended to demand relief for the island, which has struggled with recovery since Hurricane Maria made landfall last September.

Clarissa Martinez de Castro and Rafael Collazo, Director of Political Campaigns, both addressed the crowd. Other notable speakers included Representative Luis Gutiérrez, as well as Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. We also had a chance to catch up with Chef José Andrés in the crowd.

Our focus is now to make sure that we continue to bring awareness to the conditions that are faced on the island, and push against the Trump administration’s budget, which contains billions for an unnecessary border wall, and lacks the necessary funds for federal agencies tasked with helping the economic and humanitarian crises in Puerto Rico, and other disaster-stricken states.

At the Action Summit, advocates will learn how to better raise and educate policymakers about the needs of the American citizens who have been neglected after deadly Hurricane Maria hit the Puerto Rico last September. Our focus is now on making sure government agencies get the funds Puerto Rico needs as provided by congressional action.


In November, when the Trump administration announced its tax plan that lavished tax breaks on the wealthiest Americans and corporations while giving nothing—or even raising taxes—on working Americans, UnidosUS went to Capitol Hill with two partners in the fight for economic justice—Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Center for American Progress—to educate congressional staffers and allies on the effect that the GOP tax plan would have on Latino families across the United States.

The fight to protect working families now that the Trump administration has released their 2019 federal budget. Their budget proposal would continue to undermine the well-being of Latino families by proposing deep funding cuts to programs Latinos rely on to stay healthy, including: cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, deep cuts to nutrition assistance programs like SNAP, and calls for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, which Congress unsuccessfully attempted last year. We will continue to educate policymakers about the devastating effects such a budget could have on the well-being of the Latino community.

At the Action Summit, economic justice activists will learn how to effectively fight back against these proposed cuts and safeguard vital programs that help Americans make ends meet.


In December, alumni of the National Institute for Latino School Leaders (NILSL) —an UnidosUS program that trains teachers to be effective advocates for Latino schoolkids—visited Capitol Hill and met with representatives. Their aim with the visit was not just to tell their students’ stories, but also to explain how their students had been affected by the2018 UnidosUS Leaders in Action Summit administration’s policies, such as the Trump administration’s decision to “wind down” the DACA program.

Beyond Capitol Hill visits, NILSL alumni also met with parent leaders at the Latino Education Advocacy Summit, where they continued to develop their skills as advocates for their Latino students.

We’re also working to help equip education advocates with the information they need at the Action Summit, specifically around the contents of the Every Student Succeeds Act, and how to best advocate for the needs of English learners and Latino schoolchildren in the classroom.


As we head into the second year of the Trump administration, we are more energized and ready to defend and advance the rights of the Latino community.

This year, we also reached our 50th anniversary, a milestone that has us taking stock of the progress we’ve been able to make on issues as diverse as health care, education, immigration, and economic justice.


And as we look ahead, we’re trying to do even more, including advocating for commonsense issues like gun control, that improve the lives of all Americans.

In these difficult times, community leaders and activists—both aspiring and more experienced—are well-positioned to make a change. The UnidosUS Leaders in Action Summit takes place this March 21–22, and will provide an opportunity for Affiliates and activists to learn how to best advocate on the issues they care about the most. Register for the Leaders in Action Summit at a discounted rate by March 9.

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