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Latinos ‘Unidos en Causa’

Op-Ed by Robert Torres


More than a year ago, a small group of people from Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Canton responded to a statewide call to Latinos leaders to meet in response to the impact on our communities on the increasing ICE raids.

As law enforcement legislation was debated at the state house that affected Latino families and children, there was a need for a voice in Ohio that lobbied for their rights, for fair practices, and for justice. From this need, arose the creation of the Latino Association of Ohio, a statewide non-partisan political pact.


The concept was simple, these Latinos, Unidos en Causa, would commit to raising funds and actively work for political candidates and issues that supported the business, education, health, social and political agenda advancing the Latino community and its people.


Since its inception, the Latino Association of Ohio has grown to include leadership representation from Cincinnati, Akron, Cleveland, Wooster, and Lorain. To further garner support of its membership, the Latino Association of Ohio hosted meetings in Toledo, Canton, Cincinnati, and Columbus to discuss issues relevant to particular communities.


Currently, the group’s effort has generated interest in supporting a candidate for political office in Columbus, county reform in Cuyahoga County, a judicial appointment in Northwest Ohio, and a meeting with Governor Ted Strickland to discuss Latino issues impacting its community.


Two weeks ago, the Latino Association of Ohio, Toledo Chapter, announced that a previously scheduled Mayoral interview would not be held at the Sofia Quintero Arts and Cultural Center, at the eleventh hour. While the interviews were cancelled, Latino members, some business folks, some community members, other residents of Toledo’s Old Southend, did not forfeit the opportunity to show its support behind Mayoral candidate Mike Bell.  


While it is customary to find political candidates gathered with Latino folks for endorsement and photo opportunities, it is usually those Latinos who are in elected position, seeking elective office, or an active member of a political party’s interest group that play that role.


On that Saturday morning, the Latinos Unidos for Mike Bell did not fit the former profile. Rather, the gathering of Latinos in support of Mike Bell represented restaurant owners, small business entrepreneurs, social service agencies, laborers, mothers, and school children. They are people who tell stories of years of broken promises for progress in the Latino community. They recall candidates visiting their communities during political cycles, only to not return to their communities once in office.


Latinos Unidos for Mike Bell supports Mike’s record of promoting Latinos within his administration at the City of Toledo Fire Department. Under Mike’s leadership, Latinos have been at the top level of decision-making. Latinos Unidos for Mike Bell supports Mike’s plan, which includes diversity and cultural understanding as a Toledo asset.


Latinos Unidos for Mike Bell support’s Mike’s plan for economic growth through regional cooperation. His long-standing relationship with the University of Toledo, both as a distinguished alumni and one of its high profile supporters, will create synergies among talented researchers, entrepreneurs, and economic partners.


Latinos Unidos for Mike Bell understand the importance of a successful educational foundation. Therefore, Mike’s plan to partner with Toledo Public Schools to provide assistance to its schools supports the call from many Latinos for better education for our children.


Latinos are looking for much more than photo opportunities. Toledo’s Latino community desires opportunities to benefit from the economic prosperity and in providing their children the best education. They will have that opportunity on November 3.








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