February 15, 2018. The Latin American Coalition’s mission is to raise awareness in the areas which are impacting the Latino community, especially the youth, such as:  education, environmental awareness, regional economic development, health, public safety, tourism and social assistance.

The coalition is comprised of local area business leaders, community leaders, and members of APALA, HNLEA and HAPCOA whose aim is to utilize the tools and resources available to increase community development and empowerment for the Latino community while presenting ideas and promoting solutions in furtherance of fostering a cooperative relationship with the State of Maryland.

There were many questions and issues raised during the meeting.  Topics discussed were as follows:

1.      TPS – Temporary protected status
2.      Preventing children from joining gangs
3.      Aging population
4.      Domestic Violence concerns
5.      Victims of crimes
6.      Law enforcement and immigration

Cara Sullivan from the Office of Legislative Affairs for the State of Maryland spoke about the strengthening of and safety of ALL Maryland communities.  She went on to say that one of the key issues impacting Maryland is Human Trafficking and the importance of providing Victim Assistance to all citizens.  It is equally important to use our laws against violent criminals.  We need to work towards a solution.

APALA Executive Director – Alex Zunca was recognized for his hard work in helping to facilitate and coordinate the meeting.

Representatives from Maryland Gov. Hogan’s administration who were in attendance and addressed the group.

Secretary of State – John Wobensmith
Deputy Secretary of State – John Borunda
Director of Hispanic Affairs for Community Initiatives – Lorena Rivera
Director of International Affairs – Mary E. Nitsch

Others in attendance:
HAPCOA 1st Vice President (National Board)
HNLEA Executive Director – Luis Rodriguez; HNLEA members:  Cpl. Juan Damian and Ofc. Miguel Core
Latin American Coalition President – Ana Valdez
Business Leader - Dora ‘La Chiquita’ Escobar