First Latino Day held at Georgia State Capitol building
On Monday, Feb. 27, 13 local organizations came together to hold the first Latino Day at the Georgia state capitol.
According to a press release by the Georgia-based Latino community empowerment organization GALEO, the event featured “a press conference, community educational sessions, advocacy activities and networking with policymakers and legislative leadership.”
Carla Romero, a community organizer with GALEO for Hall and Forsyth counties was thrilled with how the event went.
“It had an amazing turnout; we had over 200 Latinos show up,” said Romero, adding that the educational elements of the event were particularly encouraging.
“One of the highlights was the training session that explained to everyone their representative and making it known that decisions are made at the capitol, and making it known that they can write to their representatives any concerns that they have within their community,” Romero said.
Even with over a dozen organizations present, one goal was front and center: empowering the Latino community in Georgia. This made it easy to collaborate, Romero said.
“We all had the same target: To bring the community together,” Romero said. “Being that the Latino community has grown tremendously, we want to make sure that everybody knows that their voice can and will be heard.”
With Latino culture becoming more popular in recent years — most evidently in food and music — Romero believes using one’s voice will be especially important for the younger generation, who will be the leaders of tomorrow.
“I feel like Latinos have been profiled in the past, and now people are realizing that Latinos are the backbone of the United States… we’re not this low-class profile that racist people might look at us like, we’re hard workers,” Romero said.
Romero’s final message to the Latino community was that they matter and they belong. She emphasized this goes for everyone, regardless of status.
“This was the most amazing event we had at the capitol — for the first time — and I want to make sure everyone knows that they can be heard and they will be heard… I want to make sure everyone knows that because there are older people [in the community] that probably don’t feel like they can go to the capitol,” Romero said.
Given the success of the event, she hopes to see another one in the near future.
“Especially for the people that weren’t able to attend or didn’t pay it too much attention… when they saw the outcome, even officials from inside were coming out to join who [originally] didn’t take it that seriously, but now want to be a part of that,” Romero said. “I would love to see another one because I bet the next one would be even bigger.”
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