Spotlight: Charlotte, North Carolina’s Blacks and Latinos coming together for Unity Summit

LatinaLista — During the 2008 presidential election, some people questioned if Latinos would vote for a black man. We know the answer to that one.

President Obama delivers bilingual remarks during Univision’s Premio Lo Nuestro awards show.
Once Obama took office and began filling Cabinet positions, it was the Latino community’s turn to wonder if Latinos would gain coveted positions in the President’s inner circle — we know the answer to that one too.
Time and time again, because it makes good political sense, Obama has made sure to reach out to the Latino community. He does it again tonight during a brief televised appearance on the Univision awards show “Premio Lo Nuestro.”
His comments aren’t long, which for a Spanish-language awards show is a really good thing, but the fact that he’s doing it at all — and partly in Spanish — means a lot to the Latino community. As Joe Uva, executive president of Univision Communications Inc., said, “This demonstrates the continuing growth and influence of Hispanics in this country and the importance of speaking directly to them.”
Unfortunately, the President’s comments are marred by forcing the ending. He, or his speechwriters, really like using the si se puede line. But someone should raise a red flag over how it’s used in the last sentence.
It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense though it’s obvious he’s trying to invoke his election slogan to connect to the audience. (I would publish his comments but must honor an embargo on the comments until they’re broadcast.)
At any rate, Obama’s attempt to connect with Latinos is admirable. It’s the kind of outreach from the black community towards Latinos that has happened on the local level too.
For example, a few years ago in Charlotte, North Carolina, African American and Latino leaders met because of a rise in tensions between the two groups. What they found out at that meeting was the tensions were a product of perceptions rather than realities.
With tensions rising again because of the bad economy, the two sides are coming together again in what is being titled African-American Latino Unity Summit: Communities Sharing the Dream

The half day event, called Communities Sharing the Dream, seeks to develop better ethnic and cultural understanding and to open a sincere dialogue, bringing communities closer together. The African-American Latino Alliance is inviting individuals to participate in facilitated workshops, a community theater presentation, free lunch, ethnic dances and provocative dialogue, all designed to engage the participants in an honest exchange of ideas.

Charlotte isn’t alone in experiencing racial tensions.
Unfortunately, the potential for tensions to escalate exists because people buy into the rhetoric that undocumented immigrants are stealing jobs from Americans. When in reality, the undocumented are losing their jobs as well.
Because both low-income Latino and African American communities are suffering during these hard economic times, it’s time for both communities to pool together to create the kind of change for themselves that Obama’s election inspired.

Angeles Ortega-Moore, Executive Director of the Latin American Coalition says of the planned event, “This is a tremendous opportunity to develop stronger lines of communication between two groups with so much shared history.” Willie Ratchford, Executive Director of the Community Relations Committee states that, “By building relationships across race and ethnicity we can examine what unites and divides African Americans and Latinos in our community and then build foundations for collaboration and partnerships.”

Latina Lista applauds the Latin American Coalition and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee in being pro-active in improving relations in their community.

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13 Comments

  1. Karen said:

    Re: “it was the Latino community’s turn to wonder if Latinos would gain coveted positions in the President’s inner circle — we know the answer to that one too.”
    Two people in the Cabinet, which is no more than under any other recent administration.
    Furthermore, I don’t see Latinos really included as Americans. We are not mentioned or included unless the topic is illegal immigration.
    And the whole white media meme that Latinos would not vote for a black man was highly offensive. They wer projecting their own racism on to us. The fact is that the majority of white voters did not vote for Obama.
    Notice how the mainstream media conveniently ignores that fact.
    I am sorry to see some Latino journalists perpetuate that bogus narrative. The fact is that we are supposed to have a secret ballot in this country and Americans are suppsoed to be allowed to vote for any candidate of their choice without being harassed by the media.
    http://www.slate.com/id/2204464/
    http://www.slate.com/id/2204464/sidebar/2204528/

  2. Karen said:

    Re: “His comments aren’t long, which for a Spanish-language awards show is a really good thing, but the fact that he’s doing it at all — and partly in Spanish — means a lot to the Latino community.”
    I diasgree. I don’t speak Spanish. I wonder how many actual Latino voters, US citizens, get their information in Spanish. I bet it’s not that many.

  3. Panchito said:

    Hi Karen,
    I occasionally watch and listen to the Spanish news and the BBC. I find it very educational to be able to listen to and understand other perspectives. I’m a fourth generation American but have managed to retain Spanish language fluency through family tradition, friends, and when I was in the Service – assignments to Central America.
    Unfortunately, my son does not seem very interested in preserving this Spanish language tradition. Though I feel strongly that English should be the primary language focus of every child and person in the U.S., fluency in a second language and the opportunity to travel / interact with other cultures will give our country many economic, political, and cultural advantages. Most importantly, it will give us the understanding that the world does not rotate around us, as many in our national media would like us to believe.

  4. Karen said:

    I agree that it good to know a foreign language. I just don’t like the notion that the only way to reach Latino voters is through the Spanish language media, which is what most politicians seem to believe. I think they would rather keep us segregated than include us as Americans.

  5. Sandra said:

    FYI, Obama got 43% of the white vote. Hardly anything to sneeze at.
    The reason that Hispanics are catered to in Spanish is not because they aren’t being included as Americans, it is because they have made it known that Spanish above English will always be their langauge and they prefer everything in Spanish for them. Not only that but businesses know that most illegals are Spanish speakers so they are catering to them in Spanish for a buck to.
    There was no white racism against blacks being projected in bringing out the racism by Hispanics against blacks. It is just as prevelant between those two groups as the former. Hispanics just don’t want to admit it. This BS that only “whitey” can be racist has got to stop!

  6. Sandra said:

    Panchito, oh so because most Americans are mono-lingual we think the world revolves around us? What a hateful remark to make. How many Mexicans in Mexico speak more than one langauge? Certainly not most who cross our border illegally.
    Americans don’t need to learn another language unless it is necessary in the type of work that they do and no, we shouldn’t have to learn Spanish to communicate with those who have violted our immigration laws. If you don’t use a foreign language with frequency, you lose it, so it is a waste of time under most circumstances.
    You don’t learn an understanding of the whole world by learning one new langauge and most Americans don’t have time to learn several languages.
    English is the global language of commerce and in many other instances of communication all over the world. If we go by your logic, then it is English that the world should learn.

  7. Panchito said:

    My dear Sandra,
    perhaps you need to improve your English reading skills.
    I said “I feel strongly that English should be the primary language focus of every child and person in the U.S.” how is this “hateful” language?
    I also said “fluency in a second language and the opportunity to travel / interact with other cultures will give our country many economic, political, and cultural advantages.”
    Every major university in the country now has a “study abroad” program integrated in their curriculum to do exactly what I sate above.
    You need to get over your “dropped out of high school – red neck” mentality.
    By the way, the people who cross our borders illegally are those who failed to get an education and most are barely literate in their own native language – kind of like you.
    The Mexicans that are well educated generally do speak English. Most Americans do not have any exposure to them because they are not the ones that are emigrating.

  8. Karen said:

    Re: “FYI, Obama got 43% of the white vote. Hardly anything to sneeze at.”
    If he had received only 43% of the Latino vote, the media would have been calling us racists.

  9. Horace said:

    Karen said: “If he had received only 43% of the Latino vote, the media would have been calling us racists.”
    Then the other 57% percent of Latinos are racists, or would be accused of such by the media? I don’t think so. Much of the media has bent over backwards to pander to Latinos, even to the point deferring to the silly ethnocentric cabal of Hispanic journalists who would have us change our immigration terminology, illegal alien, to undocumented immigrant, thereby giving legitimacy by semantics to illegal entrants.

  10. Horace said:

    Karen said: “If he had received only 43% of the Latino vote, the media would have been calling us racists.”
    Then the other 57% percent of Latinos are racists, or would be accused of such by the media? I don’t think so. Much of the media has bent over backwards to pander to Latinos, even to the point deferring to the silly ethnocentric cabal of Hispanic journalists who would have us change our immigration terminology, illegal alien, to undocumented immigrant, thereby giving legitimacy by semantics to illegal entrants.

  11. Sandra said:

    Panchito, your hateful language was stating that mono-lingual English speakers in this country thinks the world revolves around them.
    As for your redneck, drop out of school assessment of me, that was totally uncalled for. If you don’t plan on traveling abroad for any length of time or work in the tourist industry, there is absolutely no reason to learn a foreign langauge. If you don’t use it, you lose it! It is a waste of time.
    Wow, two uncalled for insults in one post by you. I am not illiterate in my native language of English. If that were so, you wouldn’t be able to communicate with me in here. Typical of the pro-illegal advocates, nothing but insults and throw the race card in for good measure. You don’t disappoint. You fit your movement to a tee.

  12. Karen said:

    Re: “Then the other 57% percent of Latinos are racists, or would be accused of such by the media? I don’t think so.”
    During the Democratic primaries there were tons of articles and TV news reports calling Latinos racist for supporting Hillary over Obama. Just google “Latinos Obama.”

  13. Alessandra said:

    Working class whites were also accused of being “racists” for mainly supporting Hillary Clinton in the primaries.
    Most people realize true racism when they see it and when it is just being ginned up for political reasons.

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