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2010 Convencin  Hispana: Pueblo Unido Futuro Seguro

By Arooj Ashraf, La Prensa Correspondent

A successful Convencin Hispana 2010 held Oct. 16, 2010, attracted an estimated 2,000 people to St. Ignatius High School, Cleveland. Under the theme of Pueblo Unido Futuro Seguro, the convention included a bilingual Career Fair, Youth Summit, speakers, and mock elections to gage the pulse of the Latino vote in the upcoming election. Health screenings and flu shots were available.

We accomplished everything we set out to achieve, said Diana Centeno-Gmez, Co-chair of Convencin Hispana 2010. Leaders of the six area teams shared the successes that have been achieve since the 2007 Convencin, as new goals and objectives are set for the next three years.

Centeno-Gmez said the convention is deliberately held every three years so measurable progress can be measured, while the Hispanic Roundtable continues to organize programs and initiatives to meet the communitys changing needs.

A special presentation was held by the Legal Aid Society for the Puerto Rican community, concerned by new regulations of new birth certificates, state IDs, and drivers licenses.

Eighteen employers partook in the bilingual Yo Habla Espaol Career Fair; All of them expressed genuine interest to return and recruit at the next convention, said Ingrid Angel, Co-chair of the workforce and economic development area team.  She said 200-hundred jobseekers attended, and had the opportunity to have their rsums reviewed. Those who didnt have a rsum received guidance on creating one.

Rosa Beltre, a career counselor at El Barrio, summarized the most common mistakes made on rsums. The first mistake is not having one; some dont understand their skill sets, or remember the dates they worked in their positions, she said.   

Angel said the success of the career fair will make it a staple at upcoming conventions as well.

The Youth Summit was designed to expose high school students to the idea of staying in school, preparing for college and navigating the admissions process.  Victor Ruiz, Executive Director at Esperanza Inc. said students created mock applications and reviewed them from the perspective of college admissions; To give them an idea of what schools are looking for. 

The 200 students participating came from Cleveland, Lorain, and Painesville schools. Workshops included introduction to admission tests (including SAT and ACT), financial literacy in paying for college through Latino scholarship resources, federal financial aid (FASFA), and budgeting.

Carlos Ojeda Jr., a motivational speaker inspired and entertained the youth and urged them to stay in school. He shared his life story with humor and heart break. I was told by teachers that I would never succeed, that I was the greatest piece of garbage, said Ojeda who has a hearing impairment. I went through high school deaf, only he did not know until his senior year.

Keila Cosme

Ojeda reminded students to never let others devalue their dreams and aspirations; hard work and knowledge over comes all obstacles.

Keynote speaker Appellate Judge Keila Cosme (Ohio, 6th District) shared the same message, exemplified by her life struggles. Judge Cosme moved to the United States from Puerto Rico at the age of 17 to study at Boston University. Limited in English, she taped her lectures and translated them into Spanish to keep up with coursework while working to finance her tuition.

She said she is proud of her heritage and she takes representing Latinos seriously. Judge Cosme said the Youth need to dream big and understand their parents may be limited by their circumstances.

Knowledge is the first step to succeeding, she said. Judge Cosme stressed the importance of thanking and acknowledging the people who contribute to personal success. None of us got where we are by pulling ourselves by the bootstraps. She encouraged seizing opportunities that present themselves.

Joseph Phillips attended the convention to increase his network within the Latino community and was impressed by the quality and quantity of the programs. This is top-tier, he said.

A mock election, organized by Young Latino Network, provided future voters the opportunity to practice being at the polls Nov. 2, by voting on a bilingual ballot. Board of Election members were on hand to answer questions.

Winners in the mock elections included: Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, County Executive Ed Fitz Gerald, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher [candidate for the U.S. Senate], Dale Miller [County Council 2nd District], and Dan Brady [County Council 3rd District].

Obama signs Executive Order requesting that his administration focus harder on improving Latino educational achievement
On Oct. 19, 2010, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order, requesting that his administration focus harder on improving Latino educational achievement. The Order established a government-wide working group and a separate presidential advisory commission to ensure that federal programs meet the needs of Latino youths and adults.

On the Internet:
Convencin Hispana: http://convencionhispana.org/
Esperanza Inc: http://www.esperanzainc.org/index2.htm
Legal Aid Society: http://www.lasclev.org/
 Carlos Ojeda Jr.: https://laprensatoledo.com/Stories/2008/050908/Carlos.htm


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