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An Open Letter to Toledo ’s Hispanic Community:

Felicidades!  My name is David Ibarra, Chairman of the City of Toledo’s Hispanic Affairs Commission. Most of you know me as Mr. Ibarra, Assistant Principal at Whitmer High School. 

In the last year, I have had the honor of serving Toledo ’s Latino community through the work of the Commission.  While some work has been started, much more work in still ahead of us.  In a recent meeting of the Board, I was informed that a segment of our constituency is unaware of the purpose and activities of the Commission.  Therefore, I am taking this opportunity to share with you some of the things that the Commission does on a regular basis as well as inform the public about specific matters that the Commission may have cause to deal with.   It is my intent to continue this dialogue with you in the months to come.   

The Hispanic Affairs Commission was created by City of
Toledo ordinance 694-96 and signed by Mayor Carleton S. Finkbeiner on October 10, 1996 .  It exists to advise the Mayor and City Council on matters pertaining to Toledo ’s Latino community.  The main areas of concern for the Commission are education, economic empowerment, healthcare, culture and the overall advancement of Latinos in Toledo . 

The Commission has been involved in many initiatives touching each of these areas over the last several years.   We hope to be able to share the progress made, as well as the continuing concerns, in each of the areas through this forum.  You may have noticed some of those initiatives mentioned in recent articles by writer Alan Abrams in a feature with Mayor Jack Ford and his work with the Latino community.

In this introductory writing, however, I want to take the opportunity to say goodbye and thanks to two extremely talented and highly dedicated Latino leaders whose terms on the Commission expire this month, Margarita DeLeon and Hernan Vasquez.  It has been an honor and my privilege to serve with these two fine individuals.  Successful in their own chosen fields of endeavor, they both, for me, have given meaning to the words of Cesar Chavez, “The end of all education should surely be service to others.” 

Margarita DeLeon exhibits tireless energy and a selfless dedication to advancing all of “La Raza.”  Her involvement in service projects such as the Diamante Awards, Latino Fest, and the Latino Youth Summit, while still finding the time to play a leading role on the Commission, has always inspired me to not accept things as they are and reminded me that service to others is important work. 

The professionalism in leadership which Hernan Vasquez demonstrated to the Commission is evident in his work with the Northwest Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Viva South Toledo CDC.  Hernan demands excellence in his own work and inspires the same in the work of those around him.   He often defers credit to others.  His dedication to increasing the opportunities for Latinos so that we can be fully participate in our community serves us well at the table of the University of Toledo Trustees .   His mantra is “Do not accept less than what is acceptable and, again, that service to others is important work.”

I want to acknowledge these two outstanding members for their contributions to the Commission and to Nuestra comunidad.  Personally, I thank Hernan and Margarita for contributing so much to my own growth.  In the future, I hope to bring you some substantive reports on progress and concerns regarding the issues coming before the Commission.  The Commission meets the first Wednesday of every Month at 12:00 noon at the South Branch Public Library on Broadway.  Meetings are open to the public.  Hope to see you there.


David H. Ibarra
Hispanic Affairs Commission
March 17, 2005








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