Published by the Hispanic Institute of Social Issues in Phoenix, Arizona
|HISTORY IS ABOUT
Federal officials reach out to Latinos in Phoenix,
open dialogue about social issues
Phoenix, Arizona – President Obama Administration officials representing various
departments descended upon Phoenix to hold the White House Hispanic Community Action
Summit, an event seeking to open a dialogue between local leaders and residents and the
The event was held in collaboration with Arizona State University (ASU), and attracted 300
plus participants. The summit is part of a series of forums held in various cities across the
country where attendants are encouraged to voice their concerns directly with federal
decision and policy makers.
Attendants were eager to talk and interact with federal officials who work mostly at the
regional or national level and had little or no contact at this level with local communities.
“I think when you’re making decisions about the economy, jobs or education and you’re
sitting 2,000 miles away from where people are experiencing these phenomena, even if you
mean well, I think there’s an assumption that they don’t care,” said Jonathan Koppell, Dean
of the College of Public Programs at ASU. “I think people do care what’s happening in the
ground, but it’s hard to know that.”
The structure of the summit allows the opportunity for attendants to set various agendas
and discuss them by topics in separate groups. Issues like nursing licensure and patient
rights, community legal services, behavioral health, home ownership, civil rights and
immigration were brought to the forefront of the event by participants who presented their
personal concerns and specific needs in their fields or communities.
Among the participants was Amanda Trujillo, a registered nurse whose license was placed
“under investigation” status following a case where a patient under her care decided to
forgo a liver transplant after Trujillo found the woman had not fully understood various
aspects of the surgery.
Trujillo’s case was presented in the forum as one that could threaten a nurses' duty to
educate and advocate for patients, as well as a patient's right to know all the possible
options before undergoing surgery or medical procedures.
Maxima Guerrero, another participant, spoke on behalf of undocumented students living in
Arizona who seek to have the DREAM Act approved to obtain a legal path for citizenship. The
issue formed one of the largest groups to discuss the matter.
Eduardo Delci, a former ASU staff and resident of Nogales, Arizona, emotionally expressed
his concerns about undocumented border crossers whose plight he constantly witnesses as
he lives in proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border. His concern became part of the immigration
agenda and the topic was discussed by perhaps the largest group that met during the
Among some of the federal agencies participating were the Department of Homeland
Security, the Department of Justice, the White House of Public Engagement, the Small
Business Administration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Department of
Health and Human Services.
Julie Chávez Rodriguez, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement,
said that the summit has had overwhelming support and a very good outcome in the cities
where it has been held.
“We’ve seen tremendous outcomes from these summits. We know that the summit itself is
just a vehicle to actually really being able to carve out more sustained action plans for us to
be able to work together.”
The next White House Hispanic Community Action Summit will be held in Tucson on Monday,
January 30 from 8:30 a.m to 4:00 p.m. Read more information
|By Eduardo Barraza | January 28, 2012
José Rico, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for
Hispanics, higlighted some of the outcomes of the Hispanic Community Action Summit. Public
officials from the Obama Adminstration met with community leaders and residents in Phoenix
to hear social issues particular to Arizona. Photo by Eduardo Barraza
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Published by the Hispanic Institute of Social Issues