National Latino Children’s Summit

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Children’s advocates met at the 2016 National Latino Children’s Summit to talk about issues impacting the economic and academic progress of young people in Arizona and across the country. We’ll talk to the summit chair Olga Aros, about what issues were discussed at the summit.

JOSE: CHILDREN'S ADVOCATES AT THE 20-16 NATIONAL LATINO CHILDREN'S SUMMIT MET TO TALK ABOUT EDUCATION ACHIEVEMENT AND ISSUES IMPACTING THE ECONOMIC AND ACADEMIC PROGRESS OF OUR YOUTH. JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE ISSUES IS OLGA AROS, CHAIR PERSON FOR THE SUMMIT. WELCOME BACK. IT HAS BEEN A WHILE. THE SUMMIT HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR THREE YEARS. THIS IS ITS THIRD YEAR AND YOU WERE CRITICAL TO THE FOUNDING. GIVE US A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SUMMIT AND WHAT IT IS INTENDED TO DO.

OLGA AROS: THE SUMMIT CREATES A PLATFORM OF ISSUES THAT YOUNG LATINOS AND THE LATINO COMMUNITY ARE FACED WITH AND FINDING A WAY TO RESOLVE AND DEAL WITH THE ISSUES IN OUR COMMUNITY. THIS YEAR, THE SUMMIT SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSED THE ISSUE OF EDUCATION AND ITS GATEWAY TO EMPOWERMENT FOR YOUNG LATINOS.

JOSE: WHO IS INVOLVED IN CREATING THE SUMMIT? I KNOW YOU WERE AND YOU ARE PRETTY MUCH THE LEADER BUT WHAT OTHER ORGANIZATION?

OLGA AROS: THERE ARE SIX PARTNERS. THE NATIONAL LATINO CHILDREN'S INSTUSTUTE, CHICANOS POR LA CAUSE, TELEMUNDO, OUR PARTNERS AND 22 OTHER COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE HOSTING ORGANIZATIONS FOR THE SUMMIT.

JOSE: IT IS BASED HERE IN ARIZONA BUT YOU GET PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY.

OLGA AROS: YES, IT IS POSITIONED AS A NATIONAL LATINO CHILDREN'S SUMMIT SO WE INVITE NATIONAL SPEAKERS AS WELL AS ANYONE WHO WISHES TO ATTEND THE SUMMIT AND WE GET PEOPLE FROM CALIFORNIA, TEXAS, COLORADO, AND WASHINGTON, D.C. TO ATTEND.

JOSE: LAST WEEK WAS TWO DAYS OF SUMMIT.

OLGA AROS: YES

JOSE: TELL US ABOUT THE FIRST DAY.

OLGA AROS: THE FIRST DAY WAS DEVOTED SPECIFICALLY FOR MILLENNIALS BETWEEN THE AGES OF 16-34.

JOSE: WHY IS THAT?

OLGA AROS: THAT IS BECAUSE WE SEE THE MILLENNIALS AS OUR FUTURE AND WE FELT STRONGLY THEIR VOICES NEEDED TO BE HEARD AND THEIR ISSUES ARE RELEVANT TO NOT ONLY ARIZONA BUT THE NATION. LISTENING TO THEIR ISSUES AND VOICES WAS IMPORTANT.

JOSE: WHAT TOPICS DID YOU COVER WITH NEM?

OLGA AROS: WE COVERED FUTURE IN TERMS OF DATA AND DEMOGRAPHICS. WE KNOW THAT IN ARIZONA THERE ARE 1.7 MILLION MILLENNIALS OF WHICH A GOOD 49% HAPPEN TO BE LATINOS. WE ALSO COVERED THEIR PERSONAL BRANDING, THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA SKILLS, WE COVERED LEADERSHIP AND COMMUNITY SERVICE, WE COVERED CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND ADVOCACY AND CULTURAL IDENTITY.

JOSE: WHAT ABOUT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE GROUP? RECENT GROWTHS IMMIGRANTS? SECOND AND THIRD GENERATION? ANY SENSE OF THE MESSAGE DIFFERING BASED ON THAT?

OLGA AROS: PREDOMINANTLY THE MILLENNIALS WERE STUDENTS EITHER IN COMMUNITY COLLEGE OR ATTENDING UNIVERSITIES. MANY OF THEM CAME FROM IMMIGRANT BACKGROUNDS. SOME OF THEM WERE DREAMERS. SO THERE WAS A MIX BUT THE MAJORITY WERE U.S.-BORN MILLENNIALS PROBABLY SECOND GENERATION.

JOSE: PART OF THE THING YOU TALK ABOUT WAS BRANDING. WHAT SPECIFICALLY WERE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

OLGA AROS: WE WERE TALKING ABILITY HOW YOU DEVELOP YOUR OWN BRAND UTILIZING SOCIAL MEDIA. 80% OF LATINOS USE SOCIAL MEDIA PRIMARILY THROUGH MOBILE DEVICES BUT MANY OF THEM HAVE FACEBOOKS, SNAPCHAT, AND OTHER FORMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA. BUT THEY USE THE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR SOCIAL NETWORKING BUT RARELY ADDRESS THE ISSUES IN THEIR COMMUNITIES, SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES THAT DIRECTLY IMPACT THEIR LIVES. WE WERE TRYING TO SHOW THEM ANOTHER WAY OF USING SOCIA MEDIA THAT CAN CREATE CHANGE AND ALSO IN CREATING THEIR OWN PERSONAL BRAND AND HOW THEY ARE VIEWED BY THE PUBLIC AND HOW THEY ARE SEEN.

JOSE: WHAT KIND OF REACTION DID YOU GET FROM THESE PEOPLE?

OLGA AROS: THEY WERE EXCITED TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA. THE MINUTE WE ASKED THEM TO TWEET WHERE THEY WERE THEY PULLED OUT THEIR MOBILE DEVICE AND WERE QUICK TO DO THAT THROUGHOUT THE SUMMIT. THEY ARE AWARE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE IMPACT IN THEIR LIVES.

JOSE: CULTURAL IDENTITY IS ANOTHER THING YOU TOUCHED ON. WHAT WERE YOU TELLING THEM ABOUT THAT?

OLGA AROS: WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THEIR OWN CULTURAL IDENTITY AND THE VALUE OF THEIR BILINGUALISM AND IN OUR STATE THEY CONSIDER IT BEING A LIABILITY INSTEAD OF AN ASSET AND THEY NEED TO CONTINUE TO TRANSFORM THEIR LANGUAGE TO NOT JUST TWO BUT THREE OR FOUR BECAUSE THE WORLD IN ITSELF IS POSITIONING THEM FOR SUCCESS AS WORLD CITIZENS.

JOSE: I KNOW IT IS NON-PARTISAN AND THE FOCUS IS ON YOUTH AND SO FORTH BUT HOW MUCH DID POLITICS GET DISCUSSED IN THIS SESSION?

OLGA AROS: A LOT IS DISCUSSED WHEN THEY ARE DISCUSSING ISSUES THAT ARE RELEVANT AND BUILT WITHIN THE SUMMIT IS THE LEGISLATIVE FORUM WHERE WE INVITED LEGISLATURES TO COME IN AND SPEAK TO THE LATINOS AND LISTEN TO THEM AND THEY WERE RECEIVING ADVOCACY TRAINING SKILLS ON HOW TO IDENTIFY AN ISSUE, HOW TO FRAME IT, WHAT IS CONSIDERED PUBLIC POLICY, AND HOW TO TRANSFORM THAT INTO FORMS OF ACTION FOR THEMSELVES.

JOSE: WAS THERE ANYTHING THAT SURPRISED YOU COMING OUT OF THOSE DISCUSSIONS?

OLGA AROS: YES, I WAS SURPRISED THEY DIDN'T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS AND THAT WAS A SHOCKER. WE MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THAT BUT WITH YOUNG MILLENNIALS THEY ARE STILL TRYING TO FIGURE THAT OUT IN TERMS OF WHERE THEY STAND.

JOSE: WAS IT A QUESTION THAT THEY REALLY DIDN'T KNOW OR THAT TO THEM THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE AND ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE THE SAME?

OLGA AROS: I THINK THEY ARE LOOKING AT THE CANDIDATE. I THINK THEY ARE LOOKING AT THE THINGS THAT ARE RELEVANT TO THEM AND IN SOME INSTANCES THEY ARE LOOKING AT WHAT IMPACTS THEM THE MOST AND THEY ARE NOT LOOKING AT THE PARTY ITSELF. SO THAT WAS A SHOCKER TO US THAT THEY DIDN'T HAVE A CLEAR DEFINITION FOR THEMSELVES OF WHAT THEY THOUGHT A DEMOCRAT WOULD BE AND WHAT A REPUBLICAN MIGHT BE.

JOSE: IN SOME WAYS ENCOURAGING FOR REPUBLICANS.

OLGA AROS: YES.

JOSE: AND EVEN THOSE WITHIN THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY SAY HISPANICS SHOULDN'T RELY ON DEMOCRATS NECESSARILY TO MEET ALL THEIR NEEDS.

OLGA AROS: THEIR LOYALTIES ARE NOT DEFINED PER PARTY BUT RATHER TO COMMUNITY, THEIR LIVES, THEIR LIFESTYLES, AND THEIR FAMILY. DEPENDING ON WHICH CANDIDATE IS ADDRESSING THOSE ISSUES AND IT APPEARED THAT THE PARTY WAS SECONDARY.

JOSE: I KNOW YOU HAD EDUCATORS AND OTHER PEOPLE WHO WORK WITH MILLENNIALS THERE. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE RESULTS OF THE SUMMIT?

OLGA AROS: WE CREATE THE ISSUES THAT WERE DISCUSSED, PRIORITIZE THEM AND DEVELOP A PLATFORM OF ISSUES WE WILL CAN BE SUPPORTIVE AND WHERE ACTION CAN BE TAKEN. THESE ARE THEN SHARED WITH LEGISLATURES, POLICYMAKERS AND OTHER ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE INFLUENTIAL IN TERMS OF WHAT WE LEARNED AND WHAT PRIORITIES WE FELT THE SUMMIT DELIVERED. THOSE ARE SHARED NATIONALLY AS WELL AS LOCALLY.

JOSE: CAN YOU GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF SOME OF THE RESULTS THAT CAME FROM PRIOR SUMMITS.

OLGA AROS: THE LAST SUMMIT FOCUSED ON CHILD SAFETY BECAUSE CHILD ABUSE WAS RUNNING RAMPANT IN OUR STATE AND WHAT WAS TROUBLESOME WAS LAW ENFORCEMENT WAS NOT ENFORCING THE LAW AND WE FELT FAULT FOR CITY OF PHOENIX PERSPECTIVE, MARICOPA COUNTY PERSPECTIVE AND THE STATE OF ARIZONA WAS NEGLECTFUL IN DEALING WITH THE CLAIMS. THAT CAME OUT OF THE SUMMIT AND WE TOOK THAT FORWARD AND DEALT WITH BOTH THE CITY, COUNTY AND STATE IN TERMS OF HOLDING THEM ACCOUNTABLE.

JOSE: TANGABLE RESULTS?

OLGA AROS: A WHOLE DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SAFETY CAME ABOUT FROM IT.

JOSE: THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. GOOD TO SEE YOU.

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