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March 4, 2009

Rep. Velázquez Calls for Unified Effort to Promote Hispanic Issues

Washington, DC –On Tuesday evening, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) addressed more than 800 Hispanic leaders from across the United States who gathered for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Capital Awards Gala at the National Buildings Museum.  The Congresswoman, who is the Chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), spoke about the historic power and influence of the Latino community.  She called on the politicians, business leaders and community activists in attendance to join forces in advancing issues important to all Hispanics.

“The Hispanic community has a tradition of hard work, whether it’s starting a new business or preparing our children for a promising future.  Together, we can tap into this determination and build a stronger America for all Latinos,” Velázquez said.

To demonstrate the growing strength of the Latino community, the Congresswoman pointed to the nearly 10 million Hispanics voted in the 2008 Presidential election, up from 7.6 million in 2004.  She also noted the community’s $860 billion purchasing power and the success of nearly 2 million Latino owned companies across the country.  As the leader of the CHC, Congresswoman Velázquez will work to expand access to quality healthcare, increase job training resources, open the door for those who want to pursue a higher education, and reform immigration policies to keep families together.

“Clearly, our community is more influential than ever before.  We need a seat at the table when policies are considered that address the issues our family, friends and neighbors deal with every single day.  From energy independence to healthcare reform, all issues are Latino issues,” Congresswoman Velázquez said.   

Founded in 1968, the National Council of La Raza is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.  Through its network of nearly 300 affiliated community-based organizations, NCLR reaches millions of Hispanics each year in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. To achieve its mission, NCLR conducts applied research, policy analysis, and advocacy, providing a Latino perspective in five key areas – assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health. In addition, it provides capacity-building assistance to its Affiliates who work at the state and local level to advance opportunities for individuals and families.

“NCLR is excited and encouraged by Congresswoman Velazquez’s new role as the chair of the CHC. This position comes after years of hard work and accomplishment in Congress.  This includes being the first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress and the first woman Ranking Democratic Member of the House Small Business Committee. We look forward to working with her in her new role,” said Janet Murguia, President and CEO of NCLR.

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