Annual Latino Conference moves to Allentown – Times News Online
Published on May 10, 2022 at 1:29 p.m.
Local Latino leaders held a press conference on April 28 announcing their intention to host the fifth annual Pennsylvania Latino Convention from September 29 to October 1 in Allentown.
According to convention chairperson Olga Negron, it is the only statewide Latin American conference in the Commonwealth. She said Latinos number more than one million in the state and that is the largest and fastest growing population in the state today. “The convention is the place to grow the statewide community agenda,” Negron said. Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk, himself a Latino, hosted the Latino convention organizers.
State Diversity Director for the Office of Community and Economic Development Norman Bristol-Colon spoke about the importance of women’s entrepreneurship in the Latino community. “Latinas are opening businesses six times faster than any segment of the American population,” Bristol-Colon said. “We have to invest in these Latinas because they are [also] closing the doors of businesses more than anyone else as well.
“They don’t have the tools,” Bristol-Colon said. “They don’t have the support. They don’t have the loans. They don’t have the opportunities. In a humorous twist, Sarina’s Berries LLC Latina owner Sarina Torres was introduced as an audience member. While mentioning her business at 1136 N 22nd St. (https://www.sarinasberriesllc.org/) and describing her product, a convention organizer booked her on site to provide her with berry treats at the convention coming.
“Latin women are the poorest of the poor,” said Bristol-Colon. ” They know that. “The poorest households in Pennsylvania today are single-parent households who are [headed by] Latins.
Bristol-Colon also addressed the importance of the Latino vote. “I think it’s going to be a very contested election,” he said. “We will only win if Latinos come out and vote in unprecedented numbers [which] will decide who [will be] the Governor of Pennsylvania.
“And the center of the political movement will occur in the Lehigh Valley. We are going to knock on doors and we are going to mobilize on the radio to ensure that we have a very energetic Latino electoral base.
According to the supporting documents submitted during the hour-long press conference, Latinos accounted for nearly 50% of Pennsylvania’s population growth between 2010 and 2020.
Pennsylvania leads the nation in percentage of total Latino population change, according to convention organizers.
Negron said Latinos make up more than 54% of Allentown’s population, and Lehigh County has the highest percentage of Latino population of the state’s 67 counties.
Latinos are, at over 65 million, the largest ethnic minority group in the United States.
The press conference was also an opportunity for the organizers of the Latino conference to request sponsorship.
Karen Rollins-Fitch from Highmark Whole Care attended along with Adrie Laboy and Jane Brooks. Highmark is a “presenting sponsor” of the scheduled conference.
The mission of the Pa. Latino Convention is to “promote Latino Hispanic achievement and readiness for local, state, national, and global competitiveness by fostering excellence and ensuring equal access to all aspects of prosperity and the shared responsibility of Pennsylvania”.
The convention will be held at the Renaissance Hotel at Seventh and Hamilton streets, with some events planned for the Americus Hotel.
Press photos by Douglas Graves “The convention is the place to develop the statewide community agenda,” said conference chair Olga Negron.
“I think it will be a very contested election,” said Norman Bristol-Colon. “We will only win if Latinos come out and vote in unprecedented numbers [which] will decide who [will be] the Governor of Pennsylvania.