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Latinos On The Move 2019: Making It Count

The Latino Policy Forum hosted its annual Latinos On The Move fundraiser, "Strength In Numbers: Make It Count," on November 15 at the Union League Club of Chicago.

Almost 300 attendees joined for the luncheon, including State Representative Theresa Mah, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Deputy Governor Sol Flores, State Senator Cristina Castro, Hanover Park Village Clerk Eira Sepulveda, City of Chicago Chief Engagement Officer Juan Carlos Linares, Illinois Census Director Oswaldo Alvarez, Senior Policy Expert for the Governor’s Office Martin Torres, District Director for Congressman Chuy Garcia Dr. Patty Garcia, Consul General of Mexico in Chicago Reyna Torres Mendivil, and Deputy Chief of Staff for the Lieutenant Governor Teresa Reyes. Emcee’d by Mark Rivera of ABC 7 News for the second straight year, the event featured a keynote speech from Arturo Vargas, CEO of NALEO Educational Fund.

Left to right: Mark Rivera, ABC 7 anchor and reporter, Sylvia Puente, Latino Policy Forum executive director; Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund president and CEO; Maria Doughty, Forum board president; and Martin Cabrera, event chairThe 2020 census was a recurring focal point for each of the afternoon’s speakers. Vargas spoke about forces in Washington that are hoping the Latino community won’t be counted next year. He stressed the importance of all communities, especially Latinos, showing up for both the census and, with equal importance, the presidential election that will follow a few months later.

Scott Swanson, President of PNC Bank­ Illinois, was presented with the Forum’s Champion of Change award. In addition to the census, Swanson expounded on PNC’s initiatives with investing in children through its Grow Up Great program, which provides support to thousands of families through early childhood programming, teacher professional development, and parent-caregiver engagement; and its investment in the Forum’s Abriendo Puertas program, which uses language and cultural backgrounds as assets to learning.

Forum Executive Director Sylvia Puente capped the event with a speech addressing the precision necessary to discussing “racial equity” and the place that Latinos occupy within that conversation. She explained that while a sector of the community is gaining a foothold in the middle class, others still are in need of great attention—one in five Latinos still live in poverty and 400,000 Latino children are growing up in low-income households—before urging support from attendees. Contributions were accepted via a text code, allowing those in attendance to see the meter rise in real time as Puente wrapped up her speech.

Prior to the event, the Forum’s Senior Policy and Communications Analyst, Jose Marco-Paredes, spoke with Telemundo about the Forum’s message with the event. Marco-Paredes stressed that Latinos have a huge opportunity to represent themselves in the upcoming census, to say that they are here, and to ensure that they are counted for when it comes time for crucial resources to be distributed.