The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) of Iowa presented “LULAC Day at the Capitol” last Wednesday at the Iowa State Capitol.
“It was about talking about our priorities that we wanted legislators to hear about,” said Patricia Ritchie, vice president of the LULAC Denison chapter.
“We shared issues that were important to our community and we presented our state policy priorities.”
LULAC Iowa spoke about women’s issues, veterans’ needs, workers’ rights, climate change, immigration, education, diversity, equity and a range of other issues of concern to the Latino community.
“It was an amazing event for us to be able to get out there what our concerns are,” she said.
Ritchie was also one of the presenters for the event, which took place in person at the capitol rotunda.
“I spoke about the importance of interpreters and translation of documents,” she said.
LULAC Iowa had an important role in getting the state COVID website translated into Spanish because many factory workers are from Hispanic/Latin countries, Ritchie said.
“I also spoke about how important it was for the Latin community to be able to understand what was being said in health, legal and education and being able to get information to them in that language,” she said. “I talked about how important it was for LULAC to continue its fight for veterans – especially women veterans.”
She spoke about Vanessa Guillén, a 20-year-old U.S. Army soldier who was murdered by another enlisted soldier at Fort Hood, Texas.
“I spoke about how her case had come to the point of murder – but years ago there were women that were beaten and raped in the military and it was just something that was done,” Ritchie said. “Nobody spoke about it, so we need to continue the fight and the advocacy to work on those issues.”
She said LULAC will continue to provide strong support for veterans.
“A high percentage of Latinos are serving, and it’s our responsibility to advocate on their behalf,” she said.
She also talked about how getting COVID information out as soon as possible, in a variety of languages, would have helped slow the spread of the pandemic.
“If we would have been able to have those resources in their language, regardless of if it was Korean, Spanish, French or in the Sudanese language, it would have stopped the spread a lot faster,” she said.
The LULAC Iowa presentation lasted one hour.
The day was also Latino Day at the Capitol, Ritchie said.
“We were able to talk with our legislators so it was a pretty good event,” she said.
“I believe we accomplished what we wanted to do.”
Ritchie counted about 30 participants but the event was also livestreamed.
“I know that many more across the state of Iowa and farther were reached,” she said.
A recording of the event remains available on the LULAC Denison Facebook page.
Ritchie said she wants to work to inspire more people to join next year’s event.