Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 VLLC Working Meeting with the Governor was postponed, as well as other planned civic engagement events this year. Throughout the pandemic, we have been focused on advocating for increased support for our Latino community.
VLLC Legislative Dinner
December 17 was the date of the 2019 VLLC Legislative Dinner, held at La Granja de Oro Restaurant in Falls Church. Guests heard from State Delegate Alfonso Lopez and Clair Guthrie Gastanaga, Executive Director of ACLU VA, as well as representatives from Delegates Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala, on possible legislation benefitting immigrants and the Latino Community during the 2020 Virginia General Assembly. Participants were also asked to consider their roles as Latino leaders in supporting these initiatives. Lively conversation ensued, most notably around the issue of Driver's Licenses, and we hope participants left energized to speak out during the upcoming session.
VLLC endorses Joe Biden for President
following results of survey
On Monday, October 26, 2020, we issued the following press release:
Today the Virginia Latino Leaders Council (VLLC), a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting Latino civic engagement and candidates that support the well-being of the Latino community, endorsed Joe Biden for President. The announcement comes after a VLLC presidential preference survey of several hundred Latino activists yielded overwhelming support for Mr. Biden. Over 96% of those responding preferred Joe Biden, while Donald Trump received 4% support.
VLLC President, The Honorable J. Walter Tejada stated, “We have witnessed the national conventions of both parties and the presidential debates. Whereas Mr. Trump continues to ignore the tremendous crisis posed by the coronavirus without offering any organized national response to fight it, in contrast we see former Vice President Joe Biden with a plan to fight the pandemic and to get us out of the deep recession we will be facing in the months ahead. The choice is clear. VLLC is taking the formal step of endorsing Joe Biden for president. He is the candidate whose commitment to the well-being of Latinos and to immigrants has been steadfast. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the over 300,000 eligible Latino voters in Virginia recognize the importance of this election and come out to vote for Joe Biden for president.”
Survey respondents stated that for the Latino community, a Joe Biden presidency will mean: immigrant children who study hard and complete school will have a chance to go to college; workers from the fields to the factories to our urban centers and across our nation will be paid a living wage; immigrants who have come to the U.S. pursuing the American Dream will have a chance to achieve it, keeping their families together and earning a path to citizenship. Joe Biden will be a champion for health care choice, protection of our environment, options for a clean energy economy, and equality for all. He is someone who has the experience and temperament to be our nation’s leader, who is admired and respected around the world, and who we will be proud to call our president.
Tejada concluded, “The stakes are very high in this election. We want to ensure that all Latinos and other members of the immigrant community eligible to vote are aware of the issues and participate in electing our next president.”
Thanks to all who participated in the survey!
Virginia Latino Forum on Racism and How it is Affecting the Community
On Wednesday, October 2, 2019, the Virginia Latino Leaders Council and the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO) co-hosted the "Virginia Latino Forum on Racism and How it is Affecting the Community", with special guest speaker Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. The event took place at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington from 10:30 - 1:30. The purpose was for the community to share their thoughts on the anti-immigrant, anti-Latino rhetoric and actions many are experiencing, and for the Attorney General to share how his office is combating this trend.
Forum speakers included Beatriz Amberman, VACOLAO Chair; J. Walter Tejada, VLLC President; Rodrigo Velasquez, Mason DREAMers Advisory Board Member; Elizabeth Jones Valderrama, Executive Director, Offender Aid and Restoration; and Emma Violand Sanchez, Chair, The Dream Project. After the panel, Attorney General Herring shared remarks, noting his strong support for Dreamers and laws which support equal rights and access. He also took questions from the audience at the conclusion of his remarks.
Participants enjoyed lunch, then followed up with an interactive session to share particular experiences with racism and discrimination, and to suggest ways to improve the current situation. Many offered ideas to promote positive interactions with the community at large, including a media campaign to highlight the many contributions of the Latino community.