The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) held their annual conference in Chicago this last month. I'll admit I was grateful to see so many Arizonans participate. Arizona seems to have had a love-hate relationship with national Latino advocacy organizations over the past few years, due in large part to our overwhelming anti-immigrant sentiment.
NALEO isn't just a part of the "circuit" of summer conferences. NALEO is a teaching tool for Latino elected's from across the country. Men and women come together from all levels of government. Public, private and nonprofit organizations collaborate and work together -- all for one common goal -- the betterment of the Latino community in the United States.
A perfect example of this was a reception held on June 27th at the Swissotel. The Hispanic Council on Reform and Educational Options (HCREO) and the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) joined forced with Education Reform Now (ERN) to tease the launch of Futuro 2020.
Futuro2020 is a nationwide initiative that educates Hispanic students and parents about education inequalities and empowers them to achieve access to quality education through targeted partnerships and outreach. Partnering with ERN and USHLI makes perfect sense. In Arizona, Latinos lead the nation in high school drop outs. Couple that with the fact that this population is incredibly young, these stats will remain the same until we do something about it. This amazing trifecta is going to do just that -- help our people.
No more status quo. No more fights at the legislature. And, no more fights within our community. We have a need -- a desperate need to help our Latino students reach their fullest potential.
2020 isn't that far away. It's now or never.