NCLR withdraws conference from Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 21, 2007 (AP): A national Latino civil rights organization said Saturday it will not hold its 2009 annual convention in Kansas City because an opponent of undocumented immigration was appointed to the city’s park board.
The National Council of La Raza said its board of directors voted unanimously to pull the conference after being unable to reach an agreement with Mayor Mark Funkhouser over his appointment in June of Frances Semler, a member of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps.
“Our decision is a clear expression of support for Kansas City’s Hispanic community,” said board chairwoman Monica Lozano. “An active member of the Minutemen should not be an official representative for a city that purports to believe in diversity.''
NCLR officials consider the Minutemen, who are known for posting sometimes armed patrols on the Mexican border and picketing construction sites where undocumented immigrants may be working, hostile to Latinos.
Funkhouser, who has stood by Semler throughout the controversy, issued a brief statement Saturday saying he was disappointed with the NCLR decision.
“We worked awfully hard to try to work out a compromise so they would come,” Funkhouser said.