Latinos from the Piedmont Triad and their supporters will be among hundreds of immigrants gathering at the state capital today to express their views and reflect their growing strength in North Carolina politics.
The Latino Legislative Day in Raleigh corresponds to debates on a national level about immigrant issues, such as the efforts in Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform measure.
The Latino Legislative Day will feature leaders of more than 70 grassroots immigrant organizations, organizers say.
Last year, the N.C. Congress of Latino Organizations helped register thousands of Latinos to vote.
“Our vote was decisive in the November election. The entire country realized the power of our presence. Now is time to leverage our role and be part of the solutions of our own problems,” said Yubi Aranda with the Latino Coalition of Randolph County.
The Latino Legislative Day will include meetings with state legislators at the N.C. General Assembly and a public assembly at Unity Church of the Triangle in Raleigh. Among the issues that the activists will raise are in-state tuition for immigrant students and the privilege to drive for undocumented immigrants, organizers say.
The assembly at Unity Church is supposed to involve bishops, employers and labor leaders, organizers say. Also, staff from North Carolina congressional representatives have indicated they will attend.
“It is amazing to see how influential leaders from all sectors are responding to the call for change presented by the Latino community,” said Jose Luis Celaya, a member of Enlace 24 de Marzo out of Charlotte.
In High Point, Hispanics have grown to represent 8.5 percent of the city’s population, or 8,847 people out of the city’s total of 104,371, according to the most recent U.S. Census data.
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