Governor McAuliffe hosted on Wednesday the first Latino Summit of his administration at the Arlington campus of George Mason University. The summit welcomed more than 300 individuals from Latino communities across the Commonwealth and focused on the role the fast-growing Hispanic population plays in building a new Virginia economy. Breakout information sessions were held throughout this day-long event on topics ranging from building a strong foundation for Virginia’s education system to empowering Latino success through workforce development.
The summit was designed as an opportunity for top members of the Administration to share information and resources with Hispanic community leaders and to engage those individuals in policy development and implementation at the state government level. Between 2000 and 2010, the Latino community in Virginia nearly doubled in size, with a growth rate of nearly 92 percent. There are more than 700,000 Latinos across the Commonwealth, representing 8.6 percent of the population. Hispanic business owners are important partners in economic development, with 4.5 percent of Virginia businesses owned by Latino men and women.
Governor McAuliffe finished up the day as the keynote speaker for the summit. “As my Administration develops and implements policies for economic development, health care and education, we are making sure that you are included,” said Governor McAuliffe. “It is imperative that we have the input from members of the Latino community if we plan to continue to build that new Virginia economy that our families and loved ones deserve.”
First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe welcomed the participants, and spoke to issues related to child and family hunger in the Latino community. “For too long in the Commonwealth, too many families have been forced to walk a tightrope – uncertain of where their next meal is coming from,” she said. “As the numbers show and the research proves, this is especially true for many of our Latino families. That is why we have come together to say enough with the tightrope, we need to build a bridge. As I look around the room today, I see so many partners in this fight, and I know you too are dedicated to building the kind of bridge that will lead all of our children to success.
For more information on the summit check out: https://portals.virginia.gov/latino-summit.