The influence and power of hispanics in NJ is growing. There was a pumped-up audience Saturday morning in Newark for the legislative conference of the Latino Action Network (LAN) (la Red de Acción Latina). Latinos and latinas are now the biggest minority in New Jersey, making up 19.3% percent of the state’s population.
Out-going President of LAN Dr. Frank Argote Freyre introduced keynote speakers State Senators Teresa Ruiz (D 29) and Ray Lesniak (D 20). Peter Jacob (D) ably introduced himself as a progressive candidate for representative in CD 7 – currently the land of Rep. Leonard Lance (R). Next incoming President Christian Esteves introduced a power-packed panel of five hispanic state legislators (all women. Viva las mujeres!) The morning session ended with a speech from Phil Murphy, former ambassador to Germany and presumed candidate for governor, followed by break-out sessions on issues of interest to the latino community.
Over the past recent years there have been significant strides in the number of hispanics in our legislature – currently 7.5% in the Senate and 10% in the Assembly. (More are welcome!) Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D 32), for example, was born in Cuba and came to the United States when he was ten. The panelists were all members of the NJ Hispanic Legislative Caucus: Sen. Nellie Pou (D 35), Asw. Marlene Caride (D 36), Asw. Annette Quijano (D 20), Asw. Annette Chaparro (D 33) and Asw. Eliana Pintor Marin (D 29). Their address, phone and email info are here. Contact them with your concerns.
The break-out sessions, were designed to share ideas and debate the group’s 2016 agenda. They included immigration rights, health enrollment and access, educating our children, workers’ rights, affordable housing, voting rights, environmental justice, political empowerment, criminal justice reform, and latino youth activism.
Throughout the morning, with a standing room only crowd, were discussions about sick leave, enrolling in ACA, raising the minimum wage to $15.00, poverty, a state-wide I.D card for all, driver’s license for the undocumented, the Democracy Act, jobs, access to in-state university financial aid, and human trafficking.
Later Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop addressed the group (video). Also scheduled for later in the day were President of the NAACP NJ State Conference Richard Smith and Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D 19).
For more information about Latino Action Network go here. You can donate, be a member, volunteer, or take on an activist role in this empowering organization.
Más informes sobre LAN AQUÍ.
Para noticias en castellano cada jueves Blue Jersey ofrece “El jueves en español” con informes a través el mundo latino, Nueva Jersey y EE. UU. (For news in Spanish Blue Jersey offers every Thursday “El jueves en español” with news from the USA, NJ and throughout the hispanic world.