The Kansas League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Annual State Convention will be hosted by the Dodge City LULAC Council 11079 tomorrow at the Western Bank Expo Center in Dodge City. The convention will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a welcome from Dodge City Community College President Dr. Donald Woodburn, Dodge City LULAC Council president Rebecca Escalante, and State LULAC Director Elias L. Garcia. Registration begins ta 8 a.m.
LULAC’s mission is to advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of the Hispanic population of the United States. With over 1000 councils nationwide, Kansas councils include, i.e. Topeka, Salina, Garden City, Manhattan, Dodge City and Liberal.
"'Now is our time' is the theme of the conference," Garcia said in an interview Thursday. "It's important for people to come out and help us celebrate that now is our time."
Escalante explained that the local LULAC council is hoping to introduce LULAC to the community. This is the first time the state convention is being held in Dodge City.
"One of goals of LULAC is to assimilate the Hispanic community and also to show people the benefits that other ethnicties bring to our community," she said.
LULAC is big on scholarships, and Escalante will be presenting a $500 scholarship on behalf of her son Brian Escalante to Vincente Estrella, a local track and field athlete, and to two $250 schoalrships to area college students. The council will also be recognizing and thanking volunteer soccer coaches for the YMCA and city leagues for the impact they have had on the community.
During the convention, reps from all LULAC councils as well as other communities seeking to establish a LULAC council (Wichita, Hutchinson, Emporia) will meet and participate in day-long activities that include presentations on social media, preparing for U.S. Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the Dreamers generation.
According to a press release from the organization, this is an especially exciting year for LULAC as along with the the Consul Alterno, Mexican Consulate Office, K.C., Mo. and Jessie Otero, Pres., Otero Corp., Windsor, Colorado. LULAC will also be hosting Mariana Vargas, Mexican Idol winner who will conduct a meet-and-greet during the day and perform at the evening cookout scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m.
In addition to advocacy activities, LULAC Council’s are also engaged in various community activities that include fundraising for educational scholarships, support for seniors via the LULAC Senior Center (Topeka) and the LULAC Educational Service Center-KC provides student support/referral for college prep activities. LULAC Kansas also partners with statewide sports programs including the popular CopaKansas, the largest Kansas Latino soccer tournament.