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Ohio Governor appoints/reappoints members to OCHLA

By Ingrid Marie Rivera, La Prensa Correspondent

COLUMBUS, Feb. 16, 2012: Gov. John R. Kasich has recently appointed/reappointed three Latinos to the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs (OCHLA), a state agency serving Latino matters.

Isabel Framer, of Copley (Summit Co.) has been reappointed to serve as a member for a term beginning Feb. 14, 2012 and ending Oct. 7, 2014.

Mary Santiago, of Lorain (Lorain Co.) has been reappointed to serve as a member for a term beginning Feb. 14, 2012 and ending Oct. 7, 2014.

Luis “Tony” Ortiz of Beavercreek (Greene Co.) has been appointed to serve as a member for a term beginning Feb. 14, 2012 ending Oct. 7, 2014.

Santiago, the Chairwoman of the Commission, said their purpose is to connect and improve Latino communities, and she said her reappointment will allow her to continue the work she started. Many Latinos do not know the commission exists or what its roles are; Santiago said they want to reach out to more Latinos.

“Not that we’re just here to be the Ohio Commission and be reappointed,” Santiago said “No, the people that are reappointed and all the commissioners that we do have, they are very much passionate about the communities that they serve.”

Santiago added “We want to bring it together so the Latinos will have one full voice, and not just one voice, saying one thing, no, together we can get a lot accomplished.”

OCHLA connected Latinos with federal officials from the Obama administration, Feb. 18, 2012, when they hosted the White House Hispanic Community Action Summit, at Lorain County Community College, Elyria.  Over 350 Latino leaders and senior officials discussed solutions to economy, education, health care and immigration reform issues affecting Latinos.

Santiago says she is highly involved in her community because she wants to serve and make a positive difference. Santiago has served as a Festival Coordinator for the Fiesta Patronales festival at Sacred Heart Chapel, Lorain; has been a Board Member for El Centro De Servicios Sociales over three years; has been a board Member for Coalition for Hispanic Issues and Progress (C.H.I.P.) and much more.

Isabel Framer,

Mary Santiago

Luis “Tony” Ortiz

Framer is a state court-certified judiciary interpreter and an expert witness in court proceedings regarding language access and interpreter standards. She founded Language Access Consultants, LLC.

“I’m very excited; I’m very glad,” Framer said of her reappointment, “I love working with the Hispanic community, and this gives me more opportunity to learn about the Latino organizations.”

She has served two years as a commissioner and her reappointment will allow her to “really start moving forward,” by reaching out to the Latino community and connecting them to experts.

At Elyria’s Hispanic Community Action Summit, it was clear to her that many Latinos are not as informed about policies related to immigration, civil rights and liberties.  Framer has vowed to better connect Latinos with experts in those fields by hosting similar roundtables in the near future.

Framer said Latinos need to know where and when it is appropriate to file complaints dealing with civil rights violations or discrimination in the areas of employment, national origin, housing or language access.

Framer said being denied access to a court hearing just because the individual does not speak English fluently is a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI, which prevents discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin by government agencies that receive federal funds. Instead that person should be appointed a court interpreter. The same access to language is required from a hospital that receives federal funding or from The Ohio Dept. of Job & Family Services.

Depending on the type of discrimination or language access denial, complaints can be filed with either the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights division, or the Immigration Unfair Employment Practices division; with the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Civil Rights or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights and civil liberties division.

Framer said many Latinos are afraid to file a complaint because of their own or their family’s legal status; because they fear retaliation; or fear the system will be ineffective. But Framer said the cases she has seen have had positive results.

“We need to educate our communities,” Framer said “When filing a complaint, there are laws that will protect you from others retaliating. We need to empower them so they aren’t afraid.”

Ortiz, Latino community liaison for Wright State University, said he will keep the governor informed of all issues affecting Latinos, and efforts to create jobs around the state for Latinos and all Ohioans.

“It’s a nice honor,” Ortiz said “I like helping people so basically it’s a position to better help people.”

Ortiz, originally from Lorain and studied at Bowling Green State University, said his main goal as commissioner will be to connect as many people with many resources.

The top issues he will address are education and jobs, then health care, he said. Ortiz has been a teacher for 35 years, including teaching at Wright State. He began teaching Spanish at Lorain’s Clearview High School.

“This gives me an opportunity at a state level to do more,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz heads the Latino Dream Team, a group of Dayton-area Latino organizations that work to preserve the culture of Latinos and assimilate them into the rest of the community. The group has worked on education, health care, economic and quality-of-life issues as they relate to Latinos.

Lilleana Cavanaugh, executive director of the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission, said “We are very pleased to welcome Mr. Tony Ortiz as our newest board member representing the Miami Valley area, Dayton and surrounding regions.”

The 11 panel board members also include: Andrés González, of Cleveland, Vice Chairman of the Commission; Michael Florez, of Cincinnati, Secretary of the Commission; V. Anthony Simms-Howell, of Cincinnati, Finance Chair; Rev. Max Rodas, of Cleveland; Emerald Hernández, of Columbus; Baldemar Velásquez, of Toledo; Richard Romero, of Lorain; and Lourdes Barroso de Padilla, of Columbus.

OCHLA passed a resolution (No. 2010-01) in March 2010 calling Congress to enact a comprehensive immigration reform that “meets the needs of families and businesses, reflects a commitment to human and civil rights, and is consistent with American laws and values.”

In the resolution, the commissioners explained the need for immigration reform is important because immigrants are vital to a strong Ohio economy; it will make Ohio and the U.S. more competitive in the 21st century; because the current system’s legal pathways into the U.S. are obstructed and do not reflect the economic balance of labor supply and demand or preserve the integrity of the family; and because the deficiencies of the system have created a sense of divisiveness, fear, anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment.

The commission advises the governor, the Ohio General Assembly and state government agencies on matters affecting Hispanic Ohioans by issuing reports, proposing programs, commenting on legislation and conducting policy-related research. The state agency works to build and connect the diverse Latino communities and organizations in Ohio by serving as a hub of information. For more information see: http://ochla.ohio.gov

Copyright © 1989 to 2012 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02/21/12 20:12:51 -0800.





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