Guerrero: L.A. needs a new generation of Latino leaders
By Gabriel Figueroa
The late Latino civil rights pioneer Cesar Chavez once said: “The dream of Hispanic people is the dream of liberation.”
Cesar Chavez has been called an icon for the Hispanic community, as he gave his life fighting for his people’s rights. His legacy lives on, as his legacy is being carried on.
This year, in the spring, Latinos will come together in front of Congress to honor Cesar Chavez and his legacy by calling for the passage of the Congressional Resolution for the Recognition of the Legacy of Cesar G. Chavez Act of 2009.
“With this resolution, this community is saying ‘yes’ to itself and ‘goes to hell’ at the same time,” said Luis Avila, executive director of the Council of the Americas (COTOA) Latino Center in Washington, D.C. “There is a sense of urgency here. No other issue has grabbed the attention of our community in recent years as much as the legacy of Cesar Chavez.”
Since Chavez’s death in March, the COTOA Latino Center has been working to bring the community together as a national coalition to support the effort to push for the passage of the Chavez-era resolution.
The COTOA Latino Center, like a number of Latino civil rights groups, has long felt a sense of urgency in the wake of Chavez’s passing. The Latino Center is one of the oldest in the country and was founded in 1965, the year after Chavez’s assassination.
Avila said the COTOA Latino Center was the first to organize a major national gathering for Latino leaders in the country to support the passage of the Congressional resolution. As the nation celebrated Chavez’s life, the COTOA Latino Center hosted a multi-day gathering at the White House. This is the first time since Chavez’s passing that that the White House invited national leaders to share the Chavez legacy with their political leaders.
The Chavez-era Congressional resolution, while not being a major action item in the Obama administration today, has become the number one Latino