Albany – Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (D, 51st Brooklyn), the newly appointed Chair of the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, in a departure from previous practice, has sent the invitation statewide for all Hispanics of all origins to plan a new an exciting Somos el Futuro conference as a gesture of unity to all Hispanics across New York State.
Leaders of not-for-profit community based organizations representing the western, Central, Mid-Hudson and Capital District communities of New York State were invited to meet with Assemblyman Ortiz in an effort to break with business as usual. The meeting sent a clear and precise message that the growing upstate Hispanic community is preparing to meet the challenges it faces in the future.
“We are one Hispanic family, regardless of our country of origin. You will find us in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany and Newburgh, as well as the farms of the Finger Lakes and the backstretch of the Saratoga Race Course – not just the five boroughs of New York City and Long Island,” said Assemblyman Ortiz. “It is my intention to visit Hispanic communities the length and breadth of the state, in an effort to raise the consciousness of the officials at every level of government about our community’s needs and aspirations. They must understand that Hispanics constitute almost 20% of the Empire State’s population, we pay taxes and more importantly, we vote!”
Members of the newly-formed Upstate Latino Alliance (ULA) voiced concerns on a wide range of issues from staggering rates of poverty, unemployment and high school drop-out rates, to affordable housing and economic development. There was unanimous concern of the lack of Hispanic candidates or a Hispanic agenda in the platforms of the parties at recent nominating conventions.
“The status-quo is simply unacceptable, especially in light of the Hispanic community’s growing significance on a national scale. We have given the majority of our vote to a succession of political figures who have ignored our needs once they gain elected office, time and time again. But that is about to change; no one should feel that our vote is guaranteed.”
Assemblyman Ortiz and the newly Formed Upstate Latino Alliance will be co-sponsoring a number of community forums – or VEA forums – thought the upstate area that will focus on the plight of the Hispanic Community, and the obstacles to economic and social empowerment.