Message from the President and CEO
Unidos: Our Collective Joy, Grief, and Mobilization
As the summer comes to a close, we reflect on a season that brought our community both profound joy and unimaginable loss.
In July, we at UnidosUS were elated to convene our first in-person Annual Conference since the start of the pandemic. We and our more than 1,300 attendees received the warmest of welcomes from the City of San Antonio, Texas, and it was a joy to see our Affiliates and supporters like you from across the country.
Our celebration was tempered, though, by our collective grief over the horrific shooting in Uvalde that took place just a few weeks before the Conference. We held a moving tribute to the 19 young students and their two brave teachers on the first day of our event. But it was infuriating to realize that this is the third time we have had a memorial to a recent mass shooting in just six years, following the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016 and El Paso Walmart attack in 2019. I visited Uvalde in June with some of the families, and with the caregivers who are helping these families through this horrific tragedy. The visit reinforced that the toll of gun violence on our community has been too high for too long. It is also long past time to declare gun violence as the public health crisis that it is.
Our community demands it. A recent poll we conducted with our partner, Mi Familia Vota, found that gun violence, reproductive rights, and threats to voting have leapt to the top of Latino voters’ concerns. This is no surprise given the events that have transpired this year regarding all these issues.
The most powerful tool in our arsenal in addressing these challenges continues to be our vote. To turbocharge our Latinx voter turnout come Election Day, UnidosUS is partnering with Mi Familia Vota to create our most extensive, multi-state Latino field organization in the country, thanks to support from donors like you! (Read more about this in the “Your Investment at Work” section.)
Yet among the tough times are inspiring moments. In July, UnidosUS was gratified and honored when President Biden awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to our longtime leader and my predecessor Raul Yzaguirre. Raul has worked since he was just a teenager to give voice and empower our community, devoted his long career to securing civil rights for all, and helped build this organization into the American institution it is today.
Raul’s work and the recognition of his legacy can attest that our community is and has always been a force for good; and united—unidos—with you by our side, there is little we cannot achieve.
President and CEO