Expanding the Diaspora at the DNC Hispanic Caucus
DNC Hispanic Caucus
As various democratic leaders with a variety of views met to discuss policy at the briefing of the Democratic National Committee, the focus was on moving forward together. And as the Hispanic Caucus for the Democratic National Convention (DNC) progressed, the spirit of togetherness continued with full force.
The room was full with key civil and voting rights advocates in attendance, including Rev. Jesse Jackson and Donna Brazile, Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation and DNC Committee Chair Interim.
From the beginning, the crowd in the Pennsylvania Convention Center was buzzing with discussions of immigration reform, Puerto Rico, and the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. With the recent deadlocked 4-4 Supreme Court decision on D.A.P.A. (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) and the enactment of P.R.O.M.E.S.A. (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act), two panels were formed to discuss the main items affecting the Latino community: immigration reform and Puerto Rico.
Actress Rosie Perez moderated the panel on Puerto Rico. She asked Congressman Jose Serrano of New York, how Americans of all backgrounds can help their fellow Americans in Puerto Rico get out of the troubling debt crisis.
“There are many in this country, especially in the Latino community who say, ‘Well that’s a Cuban issue, that’s a Puerto Rican issue’ - no - if you are a voting member, if you are a resident in this country, if you pay taxes, our relationship to any Latin American country is your business as much as it is the business of the people who are born there,” Serrano said. “If this country is holding colonies this late in our development as a nation, it’s your concern as much as it is those of us who were born there.”.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois was a favorite at the event, highlighting the similarities between his parent’s experiences as an older generation of migrants from Puerto Rico and the hardships and triumphs that many current U.S. immigrants continue to face.
“When my mom and my dad came in the 1950s from Puerto Rico, they didn’t come as immigrants because they came as U.S. citizens, but they came as migrants,” Gutierrez said. “They didn’t understand the language. They didn’t even have a coat. They came with nothing here—But they came to work hard, to sweat and to toil. And their son got to go to the Congress of the United States.”
After a huge bout of applause, it was clear, community leaders and legislators alike agreed: there can be no division across country or identity lines if any item on the agenda was to achieve any progress.