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

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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