News Column

Summit's Aim Is On Local Latino Issues

Feb 3, 2012

The city of Tampa today will host the next in a series of nationwide sessions held by White House officials who are seeking input on issues important to Hispanic communities.

The Hispanic Community Action Summit is billed as an opportunity for leaders in the Latino community to speak with decision-makers in the White House. It will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Vaughn Center at the University of Tampa.

The event is open to the public.

A dozen White House officials are scheduled to attend, including Francisco Sanchez, undersecretary of commerce for international trade; Betsy Markey, the assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs in the Department of Homeland Security; and Jose Rico, director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

The Obama administration is holding more than a dozen of the summits this year, including in Arizona, Ohio and Texas.

The Tampa summit is scheduled to begin with a morning plenary session, followed by a set of "open-space dialogues," in which participants will set the agenda and identify action steps with officials throughout the afternoon.

People will break into small groups during the summit to hash out different issues.

At a summit two weeks ago in San Jose, Calif., a local Hispanic education activist praised the White House making the opportunity available.

"For me, this is historic for the community," Victor Garza, chairman of the LaRaza Roundtable, told the San Jose Mercury News. "I've never seen anything like this before."

Source: (c)2012 the Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Fla.)