Leadership means more than being present at a dinner, a conference, or speaking on behalf of a community. It means actively engaging and collaborating with the very people that you strive to represent.
During the last few days, I attended the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute’s 2012 Student Leadership Series. I was present side by side with members of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), such as Blanca Vargas, as well as representatives of National Louis University and the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute. We talked, laughed, and engaged in dialogue relating to the progress of the Latino community in higher education as well as the progress of the nation as a whole. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, by 2050 Latinos will account for approximately 29% of the United States’ population, reaching nearly 438 million people. With these numbers in mind, it’s a safe bet to ensure that the Latino population in the United States, specifically in the 4th Congressional district in IL, are provided with the resources and opportunities to attend college and succeed in their chosen careers.
I had the pleasure of speaking with an old friend, Enrique Rodríguez, of Univision Chicago. We discussed the importance of higher education, specifically in the field of law, for Latinos and the greater community. By empowering communities that have traditionally been disadvantaged throughout the City of Chicago, we are better able to not only serve them but also serve our city, our families, and ourselves.
A few students from Loyola and Northwestern University in Chicago approached me and mentioned they recognized my name. One even pointed out that he keeps up with this blog and my tweets, which I was happy to hear. Mark, a native of the Pilsen neighborhood and student at Northwestern studying Business Administration, told me he felt “comfortable” that someone was “finally courageous enough” to run against Luis Gutierrez. “I’ve always lived in (the 4th district)…Gutierrez hasn’t brought what he promised to anyone.” It makes me feel good to know that our youth is as interested in seeing a difference as I am!
We could not conclude a Latino event without music and energy. Live bands representing diverse sounds and rhythms played for students, professionals, and the larger community who attended this weekend’s USHLI event. I’m glad to have been a part of such a dynamic event.
All in all, these last few days have served as a reminder of why I am running as a write-in candidate for the 4th legislative district against Luis Gutierrez in Illinois. We have the future ahead of us and empty promises aren’t going to help anyone. It is through diligence, active participation and engagement, along with the drive to empower one’s community that makes a great leader. March 20th is coming sooner than we think! ¡Adelante, amigos!