When I was invited by Arianna Huffington to join Latino Voices and call attention to issues important to our community, I recalled the moment when I joined the ranks of LULAC more than 30 years ago. As a mother with two small children in San Antonio, Texas I simply wanted to be part of an organization that was responsible for bringing change that improves the lives of so many Hispanic Americans.
LULAC was created to advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health, workforce development and housing rights of Hispanics through more than 900 councils and community-based programs. What originated as two separate organizations, was collectively, and arm-in-arm, merged into one organization with one voice for Hispanic Americans. As we organized sit-ins, lead marches, and fought to ensure equal access to education, the political process and employment, we came together under one constitution and under one mission - to effect change.
Throughout my years with LULAC, I proudly lived this mission in various capacities as Parliamentarian, National Vice President for Women, Texas State Director, Texas Deputy State Director, San Antonio District XV Director, District XV Treasurer and President of Council #4421. We have made many gains, and in the wake of growing anti-immigration fervor, continued bias in the media, lack of Hispanic representation in Corporate America, health and education disparities and other challenges, our work continues. Today, LULAC remains focused on the issues that are currently impacting the Hispanic community and works to ensure low income citizens have access to proper nutrition, minority youth have access to educational opportunities, and comprehensive immigration reform is afforded to and millions of undocumented Hispanics.
Today's digital world is vastly different than the one that existed when I became a LULAC member and the need to ensure the Latino voice is heard is as important as ever. For example, among the Sunday morning talk shows on the broadcast networks, the prevailing commentary remains dominated by conservative opinion, as well as a lack of diversity. Access to broadband, and the Internet have created an enormous opportunity for our community to remain an active participant in the debate, as opposed to, sitting on the sidelines and watching others opine and postulate on issues that influence decision makers and policy that impact our lives. We should be part of the conversation and actively lead the debate and ask the key questions regarding the issues that affect our communities. This has always been the LULAC way. The only thing that has changed is the medium at our disposal. Today, we are empowered with social media to build awareness among our membership on key issues. We also support technical centers across the country in order to bridge the digital divide. Through our National Broadband Awareness Campaign, we are educating our communities on the opportunities offered by broadband and the Internet and why ignoring the Internet as a source of information and communication is no longer an option that we can afford to take.