2014 National Latino Children Summit
by Olga Aros
The 2014 National Latino Children Summit will gather in Phoenix, Arizona on October 3 & 4 to address issues important to Latino children and all children in the nation. NLCI, in its catalyst and advocacy role, has defined the vital issues important to Latino children that will be presented at the Summit. The Opening Plenary Session features the Pew Research Center, U.S. Health and Human Services Department, White House Initiative on Excellence in Hispanic Education and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Tommy Espinoza, President & CEO, La Raza Development Fund will facilitate the opening session. Featured at the Summit, is Arturo Vargas, Executive Director, National Association of Latino Elected Officials and Paul Luna, President & CEO of the Helios Education Foundation.
The Summit will focus on leadership, advocacy and civic engagement training of 100 Latino Youth Leaders, by bringing together experts from the ASU Cesar Chavez Institute, Aguila Youth Leadership Institute, Flinn Foundation’s Academy on Civic Engagement, ASU Walter Kronkite School of Journalism, Maricopa Community College District and the Children’s Action Alliance, to provide a full day of hands on activities to help prepare Youth for their intellectual journey in life, career and community service. All Youth Leaders will attend two full days of preparation to lead.
A multitude of workshops will follow the Opening Session. Special attention will be given to the issue of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and unaccompanied minor children at the border with a view of the laws passed to protect them. Arizona Republic reporters who conducted the investigative work from the countries of origin to the borders of Texas will present their findings on unaccompanied children.
Language, culture and history are important if schools are to connect and make an impact on advancing the education of young Latino students. Arizona passed a law that dismantled the Mexican American studies program at the Tucson Unified School District in 2012 causing uproar in Tucson and in the nation. Today, TUSD has evolved and implemented culturally relevant training that is in compliance with Arizona state law and in compliance with a 1976 Federal mandate to desegregate the school. The thoughts of students, teachers and school administrators will be discussed. The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund who was involved with resolving the dispute will provide law updates.
Child safety continues to be a critical issue. In Arizona, county, city and state law enforcement admitted negligence in the investigation of crimes against children. This issue resulted in eLatinaVoices and other advocacy organizations engaging and drawing community wide attention to the negligence of law enforcement and the impact on neglected and abused children. The State of Arizona, funded by the legislature, established a cabinet level department, Department of Child Safety and Family Services, to focus on 6,500+ cases of uninvestigated child abuse and neglect crimes. The cities and counties have also improved their broken investigation systems on child sex crimes. All will be present to provide updates.
The Summit promises to be an informative, cutting edge event that will inspire and advance the interests of Latino children. We especially want to thank the members of eLatinaVoices for their dedication to convening the 2014 National Latino Children’s Summit. We also want to thank the Helios Education Foundation, La Raza Development Fund and Chicanos Por La Causa for their support of the National Latino Children’s Agenda and making the Summit possible. For more information and to register, go to latinochildrensummit.com.
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