When I was on my way to St. Paul last week to attend and report on the Minnesota Latino Caucus, there was one big question on my mind:?How do I communicate the importance of something like this to the overall community?
Sure, I personally felt it was important that Latino citizens have the information and opportunity to be involved in their community as volunteers, in various levels of government and as voters. I’ve always felt it was a fundamental American right, to be allowed to integrate as an immigrant, or as the descendant of an immigrant. However, I’ve also always felt a point is better made with a more direct fact, and not just with a feeling or principle.
So, I endeavored to ask that question during the caucus, to ask, “What reason does the rest of the community have to care about the Latino community being more involved?” I was a little uncomfortable about the question, because once asked, I could see how it might come off as abrasive. However, I found the caucus, the organizers and the discussions to be very open, frank and realistic. Delegates and board members saw this same concern I?had, and were happy to discuss it.
The best response came when I?had the chance to sit down with Manuel Guerrero, a member of the Minnesota Latino?Caucus board of directors. I asked him about what had been on my mind, and he took a little time talking about the American fundamentals I believe in as well. About how it is important all people have a voice, are involved and are able to vote. He mentioned the importance of using community involvement to build bridges between communities.
However, the message he had that I felt really spoke best to a broad audience was right to the point. “Why wouldn’t the majority not want to see another segment of the population involved in living up to their civic duties?”?he asked.
The response was perfect, I think. We talk a lot about our rights as Americans, but sometimes we forget out duties and responsibilities. Guerrero, and the rest of the Minnesota Latino Caucus have not forgotten theirs.