East Boston to Host First 'Boston Latino Conference' Oct. 13

Speakers include Phoenix City Councilman Daniel Valenzuela, Gaston Institute Director Maria Idali Torres, and Rafael Collazo from National Council of La Raza



September 28, 2012 EAST BOSTON — On the morning of Saturday, October 13, the East Boston Social Center will host the first gathering of Boston community agencies and residents to explore the issue of Latino power in the city and its greater environs. Sponsored by the East Boston Ecumenical Community Council (EBECC), the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (NUBE), ¿Oiste?, and SEIU615, the half-day conference will explore the issues impacting area Latinos and their electoral potential in Massachusetts before this critical general election. Looking toward the future, participants will share the possibilities for building Latino power in Boston and beyond, and they will create the foundation for future discussion and increased unity among Latinos and the social service providers working with them.

Phoenix, Arizona, City Councilman Daniel Valenzuela will share the story of his election in the keynote address, a case study in mobilizing the growing but under-represented Latino population. The conference also includes an overview of Latinos and the election by Rafael Collazo of National Council of La Raza, a demographic picture of Latinos in Boston from Gaston Institute Director Maria Idali Torres, a presentation on Boston Latinos and voting by ¿Oiste? Executive Director Alejandra St. Guillen, and an opportunity for audience members to engage each other and a panel of community experts on education, health care, jobs, and immigration.

"We are very excited with the possibilities for this conference for local community agencies and for all area Latinos," said Frank Ramirez, Executive Director of EBECC. "The idea germinated in a discussion between EBECC, MIRA, and longtime area journalist Luis Bravo, and its fruition now demonstrates our determination to bring together our diverse community to open the discussion of how to fully realize our tremendous potential."

WHO: Speakers

  • Daniel Valenzuela, Phoenix, Arizona City Councilman (Keynote)
  • Rafael Collazo, Campaign Political Director, National Council of La Raza
  • Maria Idali Torres, Director of the Gaston Institute, UMass Boston
  • Alejandra St. Guillen, Executive Director ¿Oiste?
  • Frank Ramirez, Executive Director, East Boston Ecumenical Community Council (EBECC)


  • EDUCATION Samuel Hurtado, Founder/Executive Director, South Boston en Accion
  • HEALTH CARE: Maria Gonzalez, Communications Director, Health Care for All
  • JOBS: Luisa Chew, Coordinator for Immigration and Legal Assistance Program, EBECC
  • IMMIGRATION: Franklin Soults: Communications Director, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)


    Marcela Garcia, freelance journalist and former Latino newspaper editor

WHAT: First Boston Latino Conference

East Boston Social Center
68 Central Square
East Boston MA 02128

WHEN: 9:00 a.m. –  12:30 p.m., Saturday, October 13, 2012