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Dec 17, 2019

VLLC 2019 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.   

Click here for more PHOTOS

Oct 02, 2019

Virginia Latino Forum on Racism and How it is Affecting the Community with Attorney General Mark Herring

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. 

Click here for PHOTOS

Click here for the PROGRAM

Jul 22, 2019

Follow-Up to VLLC Working Meeting with the Governor

On Monday, July 22, 2019, a small group of VLLC Board Members and experts on Latino community issues met in Richmond with representatives from Governor Ralph Northam's office to provide follow-up to the April 8th annual working meeting with the Governor. We spoke with Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran, Secretary of Education Atif Qarni, and other policy advisors.  Among the issues for follow-up were driver privilege cards, in-state tuition, Latino college recruitment, wage theft, and the creation of an office of immigrant services.  Additional follow-up will be required of State staff, VLLC and other community leaders to continue moving these goals forward.  Stay tuned.

CLICK HERE to see a few photos

Apr 08, 2019

VLLC and Community Activists Working Meeting with Governor Ralph Northam

On Monday, April 8, 2019, the Virginia Latino Leaders Council convened the annual meeting with Governor Ralph Northam to discuss issues of concern to our community.  The meeting took place in the Office of the Governor, Richmond, and was attended by 20 community activists from around the state.  Issues discussed included driver privilege cards, in-state tuition, wage theft, an office of immigrant services, Census 2020, racism and white privilege, recruitment of Latinos to top administration positions, affordable housing and eviction policies, procurement, consumer financial protection, and migrant farm workers.  Other issues were also brought up during the questions and answers.  Recommendations were discussed, and we plan follow up to assess progress.   

CLICK HERE to see the photos

Dec 18, 2018

The Palladium in Tysons Corner was the site of VLLC’s 2018 Latinos & Friends Holiday Party: Celebrating Civic Engagement, on Tuesday, December 18, 2018.  After a year of the hard work Latino community activists devoted to providing a voice for our community, we wanted to come together to celebrate our collective accomplishments.  Not only do we have Latinos serving in a variety of elected and appointed offices, we have activists working in campaigns, serving in state, county, city/town commissions, fighting for inclusion, organizing and leading protests, motivating people to vote, and speaking out on behalf of the community, among many other important activities.


During the party program, the VLLC 2018 Civic Engagement Awards were also presented. The purpose of the award is to recognize individuals who work behind the scenes on behalf of our community.  This year’s honorees were Jose Gonzalez and Monique Alcala. Jose was recognized for his long-time work as a grass-roots union organizer and for leading efforts to support those with Temporary Protective Status (TPS). Monique was recognized for her steadfast work supporting minority communities and immigrant rights, as well as diligently chairing an organization that ensures Latino participation in the political process.


A very special thank you goes to our Sponsors and Hosts:


Maria Cristina Caballero - Carlos Castro - Robert Lopez - Linda McCray


Host/Amigo Committee

Councilman-Elect Canek Aguirre - The Honorable Fernando "Marty" Martinez - The Honorable Ignacia Moreno - The Honorable Dalia Palchik -The Honorable Tannia Talento - The Honorable J. Walter Tejada - The Honorable Emma Violand Sanchez


Hassan Ahmad - Jaime Areizaga Soto - Sindy Benavides - Yvette Castro-Green - Rosalia Fajardo - Jorge Figueredo - Patricia Gaitan - Jocelyn Garay - Leni Gonzalez - Sara Melendez - Alfonso Nevarez - Aracely Panameno - Paola Parral-Gamarra - Sergio Rimola - Andres Tobar - Gabriela Uro - Neighbor's Keeper Community Educators for Health & Civic Engagement

Click here for PHOTOS

Click here for VIDEO (in Spanish) from Facetas TV. Segment starts at 18:55.

Sep 08, 2018

"Freedom from Fear Through Civic Engagement: A Community Conference and Gallery Talk

On Saturday, September 8, 2018, The Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO), The Virginia Latino Leaders Council (VLLC) and The Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA, sponsored:

"Freedom from Fear through Civic Engagement" a Community Conference and Gallery Talk

Chrysler Museum of Art, One Memorial Place, Norfolk, VA

This community and leadership conference was free, non partisan, and brought together high profile state and local organizations to talk about issues of importance, and to encourage voting participation, action and collaboration in our community.


After the conference, participants were treated to a Gallery Tour.

Aug 11, 2018

On August 11, 2018, VLLC was proud to host the 2018 Latino Civic Engagement Conference at the Ida Lee Recreation Center in Leesburg, Virginia.  Supported by the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO) and Edu-Futuro, our goal was to bring together residents and young people with Latino elected and appointed officials and other experts to build powerful strategies for civic engagement.


Given today’s negative political environment, with our community often feeling under attack, now more than ever we must engage in our civic life to make our voices heard. As a community, one way is to be in direct communication with leaders who shape policy affecting our everyday lives.  But to do that, we need to be informed and actively participate in our society.  We sought to build that awareness through this conference.


We shared data on the power of immigrants in Virginia, and heard from many Latino elected and appointed officials and current candidates, who shared both their personal stories and empowering strategies for making a difference in the upcoming election and beyond.  We hope that everyone, particularly our young people, left inspired and challenged to stay engaged!

Special thanks to our Conference Partners and Hosts:


Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations



Rafael Arancibia * Mike Beatty * Yvette Castro-Green * Carolina Espinal * Sara E. Melendez * The Reverend Daniel Velez-Rivera * Emma Violand Sanchez

Click below for:


Conference Program

Conference Flyer

Presentation on Latino Immigrants in Virginia (English) (Spanish)

Article in Metrolatino.USA

Article in El Tiempo Latino

May 01, 2018

The Virginia Latino Leaders Council and community leaders of Virginia hosted this celebration of Latino civic engagement with SPECIAL GUEST GOVERNOR RALPH NORTHAM

Sponsored by:

The Virginia Latino Leaders Council * Service Employees International Union 32BJ * Dario Marquez & Wendy Thompson-Marquez * Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations * Roberto Lopez

With hosts:

Beatriz Amberman * Jaime Areizaga-Soto * Hassan Ahmad * Sindy Benavides * Pat Carroll * Carlos Castro * Carolina Espinal * Rosalia Fajardo * Marvin Figueroa * Jocelyn Garay * Leopoldo Martinez * Melanie Meren * Panorama Latino TV Show * Sergio Rimola * Claudia Santiago * The Honorable Tannia Talento * The Honorable J. Walter Tejada * Andres Tobar * The Honorable Emma Violand Sanchez * Vivian Sanchez-Jones * Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce * Cecilia Williams


Sheraton Tysons Hotel

8661 Leesburg Pike

Tysons, VA 22182

6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Organizing Committee: 
Beatriz Amberman - Keisy Chavez - Rosalia Fajardo - Marvin Figueroa - Jocelyn Garay - Ariel Garayar - Melody Gonzales - Leni Gonzalez - Fernando Mercado - Vivian Sanchez Jones - Nelly Samaniego - Monica Sarmiento - Zuraya Tapia-Hadley - Walter Tejada - Andres Tobar - Claudia Torres - Cecilia Williams

Click here for PHOTOS

Feb 19, 2018

On February 19, 2018, VLLC sponsored the Traditional Latino Activists Working Meeting with the Governor, to share issues of concern that we encourage the administration to address.  Over 30 Latino activists from around the state met with Governor Ralph Northam and his staff at the Old City Hall in Richmond.  We were also joined by Delegates Alfonso Lopez and Elizabeth Guzman.


Topics discussed included driver’s privilege cards; outreach strategies in a variety of services, programs and offices; business and trade concerns; in-state tuition; health issues; housing; increasing representation in the administration; and pending legislations. 


Click here for PHOTOS 

Jan 13, 2018

This wonderful, energizing reception at the Richmond Marriott brought together activists and friends from Virginia's diverse communities to celebrate the inauguration of Governor Ralph Northam, Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, and Attorney General Mark Herring.  We were honored by the presence of Civil Rights icon Dolores Huerta, who delivered inspirational remarks.  Special recognition was also given to the newly elected and appointed officials who represent the emerging voices.

Our diverse community groups across Virginia played an active and critical role mobilizing voters in support of the candidates who best reflected our views.  We experienced the power of our united civic engagement efforts, and look forward to working together on more issues that are of interest to us all.

Many thanks to the organizing committee for their hard work making this reception a reality. 


The organizing committee would like to thank the sponsors for their support:

  • Asian American Pacific Islanders Victory Fund

  • Virginia Latino Leaders Council

  • Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia

  • Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

  • J.R. Smith

  • Dario and Wendy Marquez

Let's keep moving ahead!

Click here for PHOTOS

Oct 22, 2017

On October 22, 2017, VLLC sponsored an energizing rally: Diverse Communities United for Northam/Fairfax/Herring, with special guest U.S. Senator Tim Kaine.  Together with a wide variety of progressive co-sponsoring organizations, we joined forces to elect the candidates for Governer, Lt. Governor and Attorney General who support our values, and to speak out against xenophobic attacks that villify the immigrant community.  VLLC President Walter Tejada was the Master of Ceremonies.


It was empowering to rally with participants who represent the variety of cultures in our community.  We are Virginia!


Co-Sponsors joining VLLC:

Service Employees International Union VA 512 - Service Employees International Union 32BJ - New Virginia Majority - People for the American Way - Mason DREAMers - Progressive Vietnamese American Organization - Korean Americans for OrganizingEmgage Action -American Muslim Women PACDemocratic Latino Organization of Virginia - Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia – Chinese American Democratic Club- DREAMers Empowered

Click here for PHOTOS

Click here to see the video, that includes remarks by the sponsoring organizations, elected officials and candidates, and Senator Kaine (thanks to Franklin Garcia for providing the video)

Click here to see the flyer

Apr 29, 2017

On April 29, VLLC held the "Civil Rights and Immigration Enforcement" Town Hall with Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, and a panel of law enforcement leaders, that included:

  • Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent

  • Captain Phil Cecere, Prince William County Police Department

  • Asif Bhavnagri, Policy Adviser to the Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security

  • Ms. Lavonda Graham-Williams, ACLU Board of Directors

The panel was moderated by Armando Guzman of TV Azteca.

The town hall was an opportunity for the community to hear from Virginia's top law enforcement leaders on this important topic, and for the leaders to hear the concerns of the community.  Simultaneous interpretation into Spanish was provided.

Click here to see PHOTOS.

Click here to see the program.

Click here to see the speaker bios.

Co-sponsored by League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 4609, and the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO)

Jan 04, 2017

On January 4, 2017, VLLC hosted its first 2017 civic engagement event, with special guest Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam at Cafe Sazon in Arlington. Latino activists from around the state engaged in a thoughtful and substantive dialogue with the Lt. Governor. A broad range of important topics were covered including business & economic development, STEM & education issues, Medicaid expansion, creating an inclusive administration, working with Latino media, driver’s licenses, the minimum wage, and a variety of other critical issues.

Oct 21, 2016

Many thanks to our host, Dr. Sergio Rimola.

CLICK HERE to see the flyer

Thank you to all who attended and/or supported us!

Oct 06, 2016

John Tyler Community College

13101 Jefferson Davis Highway

Chester, VA 23831

Apr 16, 2016

Thank you so much for attending our Latino Civic Engagement Spring Forum with special guest Lt. Governor Ralph Northam!


Click here to see the Program!


Click here to see a video clip of Lt. Governor's speech and VLLC President Walter Tejada's introduction


Jun 14, 2015

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