Last August a group of about 20 West Liberty residents gathered at Local Grounds Coffee Shop to discuss the interest and possibility of starting a LULAC Council here. LULAC is The League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest Latino advocacy group in the United States. It has been in existence since the 1920’s.
This first meeting was hosted by Rob Krysh, Sara Sedlecek, Sal Valadez and Rebecca Hawkins-Valadez. Sal gave a brief history of the national and state organization and its current activities. We then went around the room to ask why the people in attendance where there and what they hoped this organization could bring to West Liberty. Some of the reasons were: bridging the gap between cultures, wanting to see increased involvement from our Latino community, concerns about refugee children, provide direction and leadership training for Latino youth, voter registration, citizenship drives and uniting the community. The youth present said they wanted to learn how to become more involved in the community.
In September, after a planning committee had determined what the focus and goals of our chapter would be, 11 members applied to charter and West Liberty LULAC Council 310 was launched. Joe Henry, Iowa State Director for LULAC swore in officers, Cara McFerren- Pesident, Katie Lyon- Vice President and Rebecca Hawkins-Valadez as Secretary Treasurer. The goals we set were: voter registration and education, civic engagement and raising funds to offer scholarships to students in the spring of 2015.
Since then Council 310 has participated in Latino Fest registering voters, Children’s Fest with members volunteering to help with activities and also doing voter registration. We are currently well on our way to raising the funds to offer two $250.00 scholarships this year. We are now 16 members strong and growing. We have accomplished much in a short amount of time and we invite you to join us! You need not be Latino, many members are not. It is about being part of a group who goals are clear and bring our community closer together and engaged for the common good.
We will be holding fundraisers in the near future to continue to raise monies for the scholarships. If we raise more than our goal, we will award more. Information on the events will appear in the newspaper at a future date. Details and applications for the scholarship will be available at the guidance office at the high school on March 2nd. If you have an interest in joining us in this good and rewarding work or making a donation to our scholarship fund, you may contact me at email@example.com.
Our next meeting is Thursday March 5th at 6 PM at The Owl Glass Puppetry Center, 319 N Calhoun Street. Everyone is welcome! Together WE can accomplish great things!
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