National Council of La Raza kicks off Orlando conference with naturalization ceremony


  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
The National Council of La Raza kicked off its Orlando conference at the Orange County Convention Center this weekend by attending a naturalization ceremony for about 80 new citizens on Friday. 

Janet Murguía, president of NCLR, told participants they, like her parents and siblings, had taken the first step on the path to the American Dream. If a little girl like her could make it out of a cramped house in Kansas City, Kansas to become part of the Clinton administration in the White House, the possibilities are endless for new citizens. But this new privilege means an obligation to vote, Murguía says. 

"I want you to vote in this upcoming election," she tells the group. "Your vote now can make a difference in the direction we move our country."

NCLR's three-day weekend conference will feature remarks by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as well as multiple workshops, town halls and a Latino family expo open to the public. 

For the first time in its history, NCLR did not invite a presidential candidate to speak at the forum, according to a statement from June. Murguía says in prepared remarks: 

"Mr. Trump’s indiscriminate vilification of an entire community and of numerous other communities, his condoning of violence against people because of their race and ethnicity, his constant efforts to create division, and his fomenting of bigotry make it impossible for us to provide him the platform that NCLR has uniformly made available on a nonpartisan basis to all qualified candidates for president in prior years.

The bottom line is that Mr. Trump has—without relent and without apology—engaged in a concerted effort to denigrate and demonize not just immigrants, but the entire 55 million-plus Latinos in this country, beginning with his kickoff speech through this month’s attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Simply put, Mr. Trump has not earned the privilege of our platform.

And because we are a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, we are also unable to extend an invitation to presumptive democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. While it is unfortunate that our attendees will be unable to hear from the candidates since we believe that our community and electoral process is best served when both parties are competing for the Latino vote, we stand proudly behind this decision."
Warren, a surrogate for Clinton, will address the conference at 2:30 p.m. That will be followed with an education panel from U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. at 3:15 p.m.

Read the entire schedule here.

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