Latino Political Training Day 2009

September 3, 2010

“I will ask for your service and your active citizenship when I am President of the United States. This will not be a call issued in one speech or program; this will be a cause of my presidency.”

~ Senator Barack Obama, Mt. Vernon, IA. December 5, 2007

Upon being elected as the 44th President of the United States, President Elect Barack Obama and the Presidential Inaugural Committee called on citizens and volunteers across the country to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by organizing community service events in their neighborhoods for the weekend of Saturday January 17th through Monday January 19th, 2009.

In response to this call, a committee of Latino volunteers came together to plan a Latino Political Training Day, “Más Que Nuestro Voto: The New Latino Movement” at the National Council of La Raza Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Thanks to the support of Honorary Co-Hosts Rep. Xavier Becerra and Rep. Linda Sanchez, the National Council of La Raza, Hyundai, the Raben Group, and the Harvard University Latino Leadership Initiative, our volunteer committee was able to provide a full day of political training to 100 Latino organizers from 18 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

The day-long event focused on strengthening the grassroots community to leverage the growing political power of Latinos across the nation. The aim of this training was to build upon the momentum and increased civic engagement of Latinos in the 2008 presidential campaign season by offering participants skills training and resources to achieve social and political change in their home districts.

We thank the wonderful speakers and trainers (who included staff in President Obama’s Administration, elected officials, representatives from key advocacy organizations, and seasoned community organizers and leaders) for volunteering their time to meet with us.

Special outreach in recruitment for this event focused on including:  

  • Latinos ages 18-35;
  • Latinos who are most likely to continue their political activism back in their districts; and
  • Latinos in battleground states/districts.
  Separate skill-building training sessions instructed the participants in four key areas:  

  • Community Organizing/Coalition Building
  • Community Lobbying/Advocacy
  • Media Outreach, and
  • Political Fundraising.

Following are some of the volunteers whose ideas and hard work helped make the Latino Political Training Day possible:

  • Melody Gonzales (Chair)
  • Ana Gabilondo
  • Artie Blanco
  • Christine Gonzales
  • Christina Sanchez
  • Cristina Chiappe
  • Cindy Jimenez
  • Elias Portales
  • Estuardo Rodriguez
  • Fabiola Rodríguez-Ciampoli
  • Haile Rivera
  • Jeff Cruz
  • Jose Contreras
  • Kory Caro
  • Larry Gonzalez
  • Lucas Botello
  • Mireya Reith
  • Natalia Aldana
  • Oscar Gonzales
  • Raul Gonzales
  • Sam Jammal
  • Sara Valenzuela
  • Sergio Espinosa
  • Sindy Benavides
  • Zuraya Tapia