“The President’s Perspective”
By Alderman Ashanti Hamilton
Common Council President City of Milwaukee
This past week, Milwaukee had the honor and privilege of hosting the 90th Anniversary LULAC convention at the Wisconsin Convention Center here in Milwaukee. People from across the United States gathered to celebrate the history of impactful work and bright future of the League of United Latin American Citizens. As the festivities wrap up, I wanted to take the time to reflect on what this convention meant and what LULAC means for Milwaukee going forward.
One thing that was undeniable about the LULAC staff and participants was their energy. There is a profound sense of joy behind the work that they are doing despite how trying the times are for our Latinx brothers and sisters. Their passion and energy have been a unifying factor for the Latin American Community for so long and whether you are from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela or anywhere in between, LULAC members know what they are fighting for and are a united front against the challenges they face. This should be a model for our community, City, State and Nation. Juntos, es possible.
Together, it is possible.
It was also heavily emphasized how important black and brown coalitions are to making our society a better place for everyone. When marginalized communities win, everyone wins and the challenges that face the black community are the same obstacles in the path of the Latinx community. We have to recognize that unity does not just apply to our individual communities but to all black and brown voices coming together and advocating for the change we need. LULAC understands this and has exemplified this. It was good to see that proclaimed on a stage being watched by people across the world.
The convention also was a place for learning. Not only about LULAC’s work to end school segregation, voting barriers to non-English speaking persons, and obstacles to obtaining a driver’s license; but also, about how we replicate their success. Whether it was SOC’s Grassroots Organizing seminar or the Youth Engagement Symposium, LULAC leaders were there to give their expertise to our community. And their local chapter, led by Lupe Martinez, renewed their commitment to fighting for justice and equity for Milwaukee and in Milwaukee. They are in this for the long haul, and we are grateful for their presence and impact in our City.
Sitting at Thursday’s luncheon listening to Presidential Candidates, State-wide officials, and LULAC Leadership talk to a national audience about the issues that affect Milwaukee was a powerful moment. Milwaukee has typically been discussed in national media when the topic is our disparities. To see Milwaukee as the setting for a national debate about the direction of our Federal government on issues of immigration, healthcare, racial equity and other important issues was an amazing thing. This was only possible because of LULAC’s intentionality in choosing this City for their convention. We have to match their energy and vigor moving forward as we continue to advocate to leaders at other levels of government for the solutions our community needs.