Mexico recognizes Promise Arizona director with Ohtli Award


Jose Cardenas: THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. I'M JOSE CARDENAS. THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF LA RAZA "N-C-L-R", THE LARGEST LATINO ADVOCACY ORGANIZATION HELD ITS 2017 ANNUAL CONFERENCE IN PHOENIX, FIVE YEARS AFTER IT LIFTED ITS BOYCOTT ABOUT DOING BUSINESS IN ARIZONA. N-C-L-R PRESIDENT AND C-E-O JANET MURGUIA ANNOUNCED THE CHANGE OF THE ORGANIZATION'S NAME TO UNIDOSU-S BEFORE THE CONFERENCE OFFICIALLY STARTED, THE OHTLI AWARD, THE HIGHEST HONOR GIVEN BY THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO TO A COMMUNITY LEADER, ACKNOWLEDGING A PERSON'S COMMITMENT TO BENEFIT THE MEXICAN OR LATINO COMMUNITY ABROAD, WAS GIVEN DURING A CEREMONY. JOINING ME NOW IS THE 2017 OHTLI AWARD RECIPIENT, PETRA FALCON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF PROMISE ARIZONA. AND, CLAUDIA FRANCO HIJUELOS, THE CONSUL GENERAL OF MEXICO IN PHOENIX. THANK YOU BOTH FOR JOINING US ON "HORIZONTE" THIS EVENING. I WANT TO START WITH THE AWARD AND CAN YOU TELL US WHAT THE AWARD MEANS AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE?

Claudia Franco Hijuelos: THIS IS AN AWARD BY THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT. IT IS BESTOWED UPON LEADERS OF THE COMMUNITY. THEY CAN BE OF MEXICAN HERITAGE OR NOT DOESN'T MATTER. AS LONG AS THEIR LEADERSHIP IS SHOWING THE WAY TO MEXICANS ABROAD. THAT IS SAYING THEY ARE HELPING THEM TO INTEGRATE IN THE CASE OF PROMISE ARIZONA OR WHO ARE ALSO DIVULGING AND WERE PROMOTING MEXICO ABROAD IN EXAMPLE IN EUROPE AND THE UK. THIS IS AN HONOR THAT IS BESTOWED BY OUR EMBASSIES ABROAD AND THIS IS TO DISTINGUISH THE LEADERSHIP OF SOMEONE WHO IS HELPING.

Jose Cardenas: CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE REASONS WHY THE MEXICAN GOVERNMENT DECIDED TO HONOR IN THIS WAY?
Claudia Franco Hijuelos: WHAT WE DO IS SIGNAL WHICH LEADERS IN OUR SUBSCRIPTIONS IN PHOENIX. FOR EXAMPLE, I HAVE PUT TOGETHER A JUSTIFICATION AS TO WHY PETRA FALCONE WOULD MERIT HIS AWARD.

Jose Cardenas: IT HAS TO BE APPROVED IN MEXICO CITY?

Claudia Franco Hijuelos: IT DOES. THERE IS A COMMITTEE IN MEXICO. THE INSTITUTE OF MEXICANA HAS BEEN IN CHARGE OF DECIDING WHETHER THAT PROPOSAL BY THE COUNSEL GENERAL IN THIS INSTANCE IS WORTHY OF APPROVAL. WHAT WE HAVE TO DO IS JUSTIFY THE PROPOSAL. IN THE CASE OF PETRA THERE WERE INTERESTING THINGS. SHE HAS BEEN WORKING ALL OF HER LIFE. SHE HAS BEEN WORKING SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH THE COMMUNITY. SHE IS A FOURTH GENERATION ARIZONIAN. SHE HAS FELT THAT NEED TO GIVE HERSELF TO OTHERS AND TO SHOW THE WAY. THEY SHOW THE WAY AND OPEN A PATH FOR OTHER MEXICANS TO IMPROVE THEIR LIVES IN THIS CASE. PETRA ALSO IS WORKING IN AN AREA THAT INTERESTS THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO VERY MUCH IN THIS CONTEXT. ONE OF THEM IS KNOW YOUR RIGHTS CAMPAIGNS FOR MEXICANS TO BE ABLE TO EXEURT THE RIGHT THEY HAVE TO KNOW THEM AND RAISE THEIR HANDS AND BE ASSERTIVE TO THOSE RIGHTS. THE ORGANIZATION HELPS DO THAT. AND THE COUNCIL OF MEXICO COLLABORATES AND ALSO WE ARE EMPHASIZING VERY MUCH GIVEN THE CURRENT POLITICAL CONTEXT THAT MEXICANS WHO COULD ASPIRE TO BE NATURALIZED U.S. CITIZENS TO FIND OUT WHAT THEIR SITUATION IS AND WHAT WOULD THEY NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO GET THAT CITIZENSHIP BECAUSE THAT WOULD MAKE THEM MORE PROTECTED IN A WAY TO DEPORTATION.
Jose Cardenas: SO, PETRA, I HAD TO ASK THE COUNCIL WHY THEY ARE HONORING YOU BECAUSE I KNEW YOU WOULD BE TOO MODEST TO EXPLAIN. BUT GIVE US A THUMBNAIL SKETCH OF YOUR CAREER AND WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN DOING TO PROMISE ARIZONA IN THE LAST FEW YEARS.

Petra Falcon: I THINK MY YEAR ON THE BORDER WAS SIGNIFICANT FOR ME. I THINK IT LEFT A THUMBPRINT IN MY PERSONALLY BECAUSE I WAS ABLE TO CROSS THE BORDER AS FREELY AS I WANTED WHETHER IT WAS TUCSON, OR SAN LUIS. I COULD COME BACK AND FORTH AS I PLEASED BUT THERE WERE PEOPLE WHO COULD NOT. THESE WERE FAMILIES LIVING CLOSE TO THE BORDER SO THEY COULD BE CLOSED TO THEIR LOVED ONES OR NEEDED TO COME ACROSS IN YUMA COUNTY TO WORK WITH THE CROPS. IT SEEMED TO ME A HARSH WAY TO LIVE AND NOT IN ANY ONE COUNTRY BUT TWO COUNTRIES. YET, BOTH COUNTRIES NEEDED EACH OTHER AND THAT IS HOW I CONNECTED SERIOUSLY TO THE WHOLE BROKEN SYSTEM OF IMMIGRATION. BUT PERSONALLY, IN GETTING TO KNOW THE COMMUNITIES AND THE FAMILIES THEY WERE SEEKING NO MORE THAN WHAT I WAS SEEKING IN MY OWN PERSONAL LIFE. I HAD A FAMILY, I WANTED TO MAKE SURE THEY CHILDREN WERE PROTECTED AND HAD A GOOD EDUCATION AND THAT I HAD MEANINGFUL PURPOSEFUL WORK AND THIS IS WHAT THE MEXICAN RESIDENTS LIVING IN THE UNITS WANT. I THINK WE NEED TO BE THERE TO SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER. INTEGRATION IS A TWO-WAY PATH. WE ARE RECEIVING THEM AND THEY ARE RECEIVING SOMETHING FROM US. WE ARE RECEIVING FROM EACH OTHER. AND I THINK WE NEED TO CREATE THOSE PATHS.

Jose Cardenas: AND THAT IS WHAT PROMISE ARIZONA IS DOING?

Petra Falcon: PROMISE ARIZONA IS WORKING HAND AND HAND WITH COMMUNITY GROUPS AND THE COUNSEL GENERAL TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE FIND A WAY TO STAY HERE LEGALLY WHICH WE CALL SCREENING. SECONDLY, WE TRYING TO MAKE SURE THEY HAVE AN EMERGENCY PLAN IN THE EVENT ONE OF THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS MIGHT GET DEPORTED AND WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO THEIR CHILDREN AND LASTLY WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE FULLY INTEGRATED AND THAT COULD MEAN ENGLISH CLASSES AND WE PARTNER WITH THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE TO ALLOW PEOPLE ACCESS TO THE CLASSES AND TO LEARN THE TECHNOLOGY THEY NEED IN TODAY'S ENVIRONMENT. IT IS CREATING THE PATH AT DIFFERENT LEVELS IN OUR COMMUNITY. QUITE FRANKLY, THE WORK THAT IS HAPPENING HOW HAS EVEN INCREASED BECAUSE OF THE COUNSEL GENERAL AND SHE ALSO SHOULD BE APPLAUDED FOR -- SHE HAS BEEN HERE A YEAR AND MANY MORE ORGANIZATIONS HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE RESOURCES TO DO THE WORK.

Jose Cardenas: I WANT TO TALK ABOUT OTHER THINGS THAT HAPPENED AT THE CONCERT BUT BEFORE WE DO THAT WE HAVE PICTURES OF THE AWARD CEREMONY ITSELF ON THE SCREEN. THIS IS YOU, MADAM COUNSEL, PRESENTING THE AWARD. I THINK WE HAVE A GROUP SHOT COMING UP AND THERE IS PETRA WITH THE AWARD IN THE MIDDLE. THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE HOLDING THERE. AND THIS IS TOMMY ON THE RIGHT? HE IS A RECIPIENT AS WELL?

Petra Falcon: YES, 2005.
Jose Cardenas: I DON'T KNOW IF WE CAN GET A CLOSE-UP OF THAT BUT WE CAN TRY IF YOU WANT TO HOLD IT UP. WE CAN SEE WHAT WE CAN DO THERE. AND MADAM COUNSEL, AT THE EVENT ITSELF, I KNOW THE CONSULATE HAD SOME PARTICIPATION. TELL US WHAT YOU WERE DOING?

Claudia Franco Hijuelos: IT WAS A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE COUNSEL GENERAL OF MEXICO TO BE CLOSE TO OUR CONSTITUENTS REALLY. THERE IS AN EXPO THAT GOES PARALLEL TO THE CONVENTION AND THERE WAS AN APPROXIMATE 4500 PEOPLE AT THAT EXPO. WE HAD TWO BOOTHS. ONE WAS A BOOTH THAT WAS INFORMING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THEIR RIGHTS. WE HAD PRO-BONO LAWYERS ALSO PARTICIPATING WITH US AND GIVING GUIDANCE TO THE PUBLIC INDIVIDUALLY CONSOLTATIONS INDIVIDUALLY. AND WE WERE GIVING OUT INFORMATION ON HOW TO PROTECT THEIR ASSETS.

Jose Cardenas: IF THEY END UP BEING DEPORTED. AND I APOLOGIZE WE ARE ALMOST OUT OF TOWN BUT WE CANNOT END WITHOUT TALK ABOUT THE NAME CHANGE BECAUSE IN THE MEDIA IT GENERATES CONTROVERSY.

Petra Falcon: THE NAME CHANGE GOES ALONG WITH THE FACT THAT NCLR IS GOING TO CELEBRATE ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY NEXT YEAR AND I THINK THEY THOUGHT IT WAS TIME TO EVALUATE HOW THE NAME CONNECTED TO THE COMMUNITY. THEY EXPECT THREE YEARS --

Jose Cardenas: NOT A REACTION TO THE ELECTION?

Petra Falcon: NOT AT ALL A REACTION BECAUSE OUR PROMISE ARIZONA IS AN AFFILIATE. THERE WAS A REGIONAL MEETING OVER A YEAR AGO IN PHOENIX AND WE DISCUSSED --

Jose Cardenas: AND WE HAVE ALMOST OUT OF TOWN BUT DO YOU FAVOR THE NAME CHANGE?

Petra Falcon: YES, I FAVOR THE FACT IT IS GOING TO ALLOW US TO TAKE OPPORTUNITY OF THE NEXT 50 YEARS IN A MUCH DIFFERENT WAY PERHAPS.

Jose Cardenas: SO, ON THAT NOTE, I APOLOGIZE FOR RUNNING OUT OF TIME BUT THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING IN AND CONGRATULATIONS.

Petra Falcon: THANK YOU.

Jose Cardenas: YOU ARE WATCHING HORIZONTE ON ARIZONA P-B-S. COMING UP NEXT ONE WOMAN EMPOWERING YOUNG GIRLS THROUGH HER T-SHIRT DESIGNS.

The Ohtli Award is the highest honor given by the Government of Mexico to a community leader acknowledging his or her commitment to benefit the Mexican or Latino community abroad.
We will talk to recipient Petra Falcon, executive director of Promise Arizona, and Consul General of Mexico in Phoenix Claudia Franco Hijuelos about the award and the National Council of La Raza conference.

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In this segment:

Petra Falcon: Executive Director of Promise Arizona

Claudia Franco Hijuelos: Consul General of Mexico in Phoenix

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