The public can give input on issues important to the Hispanic community at the Sept. 26 meeting of the Latino Civic Alliance in Pasco.
The meeting will feature between seven and nine state board members from the group that seeks to increase awareness of the Latino community with the state government.
Gabriel Portugal of Pasco, the Tri-City board member for the alliance, said it is looking for ideas to bring on its annual legislative day in February in Olympia and seeking people to go to the legislative day.
The legislative day brings in around 1,000 people from across Washington, Portugal said. At past legislative days, they have met with state House and Senate members, as well as Gov. Jay Inslee.
“Sometimes we get a couple busloads of people (from Pasco),” Portugal said.
This year, the Latino Civic Alliance has been involved with calling for an outside investigation into February’s deadly police shooting in Pasco. It held a news conference in June to ask Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant to step aside in the investigation into the death of Antonio Zambrano-Montes. Speakers outside the Franklin County Courthouse asked for a united community and calm.
The organization again responded earlier this month after Sant announced he would not charge the three officers who shot Zambrano-Montes. The alliance called for a change to state law, saying it is needed to prevent police officers from being exonerated when they use excessive force.
The relationship with law enforcement in the area is among the issues to be considered Aug. 26, Portugal said.
“It is very difficult for us to believe that three officers who were chasing a man felt their lives were threatened,” he said. “We need to look at that because it is a challenge to the justice system. That’s going to be a topic to discuss.”
The achievement gap in education between Hispanic students and other groups is another issue that will be discussed.
“You don’t have to be Hispanic or Latino (to attend),” Portugal said. “We want people to identify with the struggles of people who are not succeeding.”
Other issues will include small business development, health care and labor rights.
The public meeting is scheduled from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Franklin PUD building at 1411 W. Clark Street in Pasco. Free pizza and soft drinks will be provided.
Between 40 and 50 people are expected to attend, Portugal said.