News & Photos
Temple Hosts White House Hispanic Summit for Citizens to Talk Policy with Officials
June 6th, 2012 by Carl O'Donnell
Media Contact: Brandon Lausch, 215-204-4115, email@example.com
At least 22 federal officials in six government agencies visited Temple's Student Center on Saturday, June 2, to hear the perspectives of local nonprofits, community groups and students as part of the White House's 19th Hispanic Community Action Summit.
The summit series, founded in July 2011, shares the latest policy developments on key topics and connects administration officials with the public to create action plans based on issues of importance to the community. The summits include an open-space dialogue in which participants set the agenda and identify follow-up actions.
The event opened with speeches from Temple Trustee Nelson A. Diaz, also a member of the Pennsylvania Steering Committee that organized the event; Elizabeth H. Barber, associate dean of Temple's School of Tourism and Hospitality Management; Jose Rico, the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics; and Julie Rodriguez, the associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Diaz said that, through initiatives like this summit, "we can make America what it can be: the land of opportunity - for everyone."
"We want to connect you with key administration officials here today who are leading policies that will influence your lives and the lives of your family," Rico added.
Rico introduced 22 federal officials holding leadership positions in the U.S. departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Homeland Security as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Fox School of Business marketing major Yamil Nunez was among the first to share a proposal. Having discovered his passion for entrepreneurship at Temple, Nunez wanted officials to help ensure that the next generation of Latino youth has an even stronger chance of becoming business owners.
"Latinos make up a much larger percentage of the labor force than of business owners," said Nunez, a leader in Temple's Entrepreneurial Student Association. "By generating awareness of entrepreneurship's possibilities among young Latinos, we can continue to move forward as a culture."
Temple Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute Social Entrepreneur in Residence Chris Rabb shared insights drawn from his experience as a business leader, research fellow, legislative aid, author and academic.
"I'm here because I really believe that we have to talk about how the general well-being of folks in society relates to entrepreneurship," Rabb said. "If we're talking about wealth creation we also have to talk about wealth disparities. I'm interested in how those who have the lowest per capita wealth can still access entrepreneurship in ways that build community assets."
In her speech, Rodriguez stressed the importance of the sort of dialogue between citizens and government leaders facilitated by the summit.
"Although our country is continuing to struggle, it is the optimism and potential of each and every one of you in this room and of your communities that will really restore this country's hope and provide an insightful outlook into our future," she said.