Conference connects Latino community with caucus

November 18, 2011 3:06:01 PM PST
The Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation (ILLCF) was established as a strong new voice and resource for the Illinois Latino population.

It held its ninth annual conference Friday in Rosemont with $25,000 in scholarships awarded.

It was all about empowering the Latino community and sending a message to legislators about the important issues that need to be addressed.

"This is an opportunity for those folks that don't have an opportunity to travel down to Springfield to bring their concerns and issues to the Latino caucus and in turn can translate into some legislation," said Gilbert Villegas, Jr., chief of staff of the Illinois Capital Development Board.

"We gauge it to help us produce legislation throughout the year," said 1st District State Senator Antonio Munoz, also a co-chair of ILLCF.

The year's theme is La Presencia Latina - growth, responsibility, influence and transformation. A number of workshops offered advice on how to achieve economic growth and job creation.

"There are some great-quality firms that they can kind of team up with and even mentor and grow and scale," said panelist Martin Cabrera.

The Latina empowerment session was filled to capacity they addressed creating leadership strengths, relationships and resources.

"Latinas are very strong and they can accomplish a lot of things," said attorney Virginia Martinez.

Students attending the conference learned about the importance of a college education.

"It inspired all of us. It actually found all these different resources for us that would help us to succeed," said Morton East High School student Xiolmara Martinez.

"This is a great opportunity for our students from College of DuPage to attend and get information on immigration reform, education, and just to do a lot of good networking," said College of DuPage Education Coordinator Saraliz Jimenez.

"Latinos - we definitely need more leadership skills and more of a leadership role as well in not only our communities but our schools and education is definitely the key to becoming successful," said Arthur Liceaga.

The conference is all about knowledge and information for the Latino community.

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