The Power of US
This summer was busy for UnidosUS, culminating with our 2023 Annual Conference in Chicago in July. It was an honor and privilege to welcome and connect with the nearly 2000 attendees, including Affiliates and supporters like you. Our Chicago-based Affiliates hosted an uplifting bienvenida to kick off the Conference, setting the tone for this year’s theme: The Power of US.
Before we officially kicked off the Conference, I spoke at a naturalization ceremony, which we helped coordinate and was hosted by our Affiliate, Instituto del Progreso Latino. Assisting people to become citizens collectively is the first step of the work UnidosUS does to create a path to the ballot box and civic engagement. We also create a path to leadership and representation. Likewise, when we educate people about the financial system, we also guide them on how to open a bank account, establish credit, obtain a loan, and ultimately become homeowners. It was a moving ceremony, and I was honored to be a part of it.
Over the last few months, we’ve seen events challenging our community across the country. Like you, we were outraged by reports of Texas using razor wire traps and buoys in the Rio Grande, endangering the lives of immigrants, including children, trying to find a better life. This is barbaric and unconscionable. Border enforcement and the humane treatment of immigrants are not mutually exclusive.
Some states have been bussing desperate refugees to northern cities, including Chicago. Several of our Affiliates came together to create a comprehensive response to the arrival of nearly 5,000 new immigrants, working in collaboration with the city and other organizations. This sends a message about who we are, our resourcefulness, and our perseverance. We have the power of us when we might not have the support of some state governments.
We are working with the Biden-Harris Administration to address the situation in Texas. And we were honored to have Vice President Kamala Harris join us during the Annual Conference, where she spoke about the economic power of Latinos and the work ahead to ensure greater equity for the community and the country.
In addition to the excitement of the Conference, this summer we welcomed four new members to our Board of Directors, all accomplished leaders with diverse experiences whose insight and expertise will help guide our mission: Edward C. Garza, Executive Director, Mexican American Council, Inc.; Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, Dean, Duke University School of Nursing; Laura Ponce, Executive Director, Project Bravo; and Francisco Rivera, Head of Emerging Business & Broadcast Operations Latin America, Sony Pictures Entertainment.
I’m proud to work alongside Affiliates, Board Members, and donors like you. I’m grateful for each of your granitos de arena. Together, unidos, we are moving our country towards a brighter future for us all!
President and CEO