A nonprofit group dedicated to improving the lives of everyone in the Tri-Cities wants to have a conversation with the community about civil rights.
The Tri-Cities Council of the League of United Latin American Citizens is holding a forum from 1 to 6 p.m. April 9 at TRAC, 6600 Burden Blvd., in Pasco. It’s free.
Local, state and federal presenters are lined up to discuss three key topics: voting rights, law enforcement relations and the educational gap of minorities.
“We want the community to be informed of what’s going on in this area,” said Gabriel Portugal, acting president. “We need to be holistic and look at all the areas we can improve.”
Reservations are not needed, but Portugal noted the event is first-come, first-served with space for 100. Participants will receive a free dinner.
Basically we’re looking for everyone to live in a better situation, not only Latinos, but all. This all affects our community at large.
Portugal realizes people may be busy with weekend chores or wrapping up spring break, but he’s hoping they will think about the bigger picture with their community and find some time to see how they can help, he said.
“We’re hoping to put it all up in plain language and easy-to-understand content,” he said.
The Tri-Cities chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, only formed last fall. However, it is the oldest Hispanic civil rights organization in the nation, with more than 1,000 councils across the U.S., Portugal said.
Pasco Mayor Matt Watkins is set to welcome attendees to Saturday’s forum, with Rosa Rosales from National LULAC giving the keynote and state Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, as a guest speaker.
Rosales served as national president several times and is the civil rights chairwoman.
Schoesler, the Senate majority leader, represents part of Franklin County with the 9th Legislative District.
Portugal said Schoesler has taken an interest in some of Pasco’s issues, including law enforcement relations, and this is a great opportunity for community members to let him know their concerns.
“Whether we agree or we do not agree about his stand on issues, that’s not the purpose of our forum,” Portugal said. “The purpose is to learn from each other in addressing those three areas.”
LULAC is a nonpartisan organization.
Other presenters include Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel and representatives from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, state Attorney General’s Office, Washington’s commissions on Hispanic Affairs and African American Affairs, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Participants will get to ask questions after each panel.
“Basically, we’re looking for everyone to live in a better situation, not only Latinos, but all,” Portugal said. “This all affects our community at large.”
For more information on the Tri-Cities LULAC Council, visit their Facebook page.
Reservations are not needed, but Gabriel Portugal noted that the event is first-come, first-served with space for 100. Participants will receive a free dinner.