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AFL-CIO and Voto Latino Join Forces during Power Summit to Engage and Empower Latinos

Hundreds of young Latinos came together with labor, civic and community leaders during two-day e
vent at University of Southern California 

(Washington, DC, April 17, 2012) - This past weekend, hundreds of young Latinos from across the country attended Voto Latino’s Power Summit to join labor, civic and community leaders in a conversation on how to empower Latinos and their communities.  The event, which was co-sponsored by the AFL-CIO and held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Calif., had groundbreaking workshops and panels which ranged from creating positive change in communities and using social media to mobilize Latinos to trainings in new cutting-age technology in voter registration.  

Participants in this two day event included celebrities and leaders like actress Rosario Dawson, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Maria Elena Durazo, United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta, Voto Latino President Maria Teresa Kumar and actor Wilmer Valderrama. 

The summit started with a panel featuring Durazo, Kumar and Valderrama where they discussed the importance of Latino vote. The panel was covered by Telemundo Network. 

“The Latino vote will play a major role in battleground states, whether they are a large or a small block, in determining the outcomes of the 2012 election. We need Latino voters going to the polls in 2012 because higher education is becoming increasingly unaffordable and our public colleges and universities are failing Latinos,” said Secretary-Treasurer Durazo. “Only 7 percent of Latinos in the U.S. have a college or university degree. And since 1975, there has only been a 2 percent increase in college graduation rates for Latinos. We have a situation where Latino students can’t afford their classes or books.” 

In another panel, Dolores Huerta the co-founder of the United Farm Workers joined Rosario Dawson and Maria Teresa Kumar to talk about the current political landscape as it relates to the Latino population and how a small group of individuals can make a difference. 

"50,000 American Latino's turn 18 every month, but only a small fraction become engaged participants in the political process," says Voto Latino President Maria Teresa Kumar. "This weekend, Voto Latino's Power Summit at USC helped change that for over 300 young people and their networks through panels and conversations with Rosario Dawson, Dolores Huerta, Maria Elena Durazo and many other exceptional leaders who in turn helped arm participants with the tools to make a positive change in 2012 and beyond." 

A major part of the voting rights efforts by the AFL-CIO and affiliated unions involves working with Latino organizations on grassroots community outreach within the Latino community on voter registration and education.

Contact: Gonzalo Salvador (202) 637-5018

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