Hispanic leaders call for bold leadership at Festival People en Español

The event, an extravaganza of Hispanic entertainment and culture, is in the second year of a three-year city contract that has raised some eyebrows.

On the eve of Labor Day, two of San Antonio’s prominent Hispanic leaders closed out the Festival People en Español late Sunday with a call for bold civic involvement.

“It’s about never being afraid to speak your mind,” said Henry Muñoz III, a Democratic Party leader and VIA Metropolitan Transit chairman.

“Fear is often what keeps us from doing anything,” said City Councilman Diego Bernal, who is leading an effort to adopt a local nondiscrimination ordinance, which would add protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status.

During a roughly 45-minute discussion moderated by Lena Hansen, senior writer with People en Español magazine, Muñoz said he was honored “as a Latino and as a gay man” to appear with Bernal, whose ordinance has been hotly debated and is set for a vote Thursday. The two spoke, in English, on “Making a Positive Impact in Our Community” as people filed out of the Convention Center near the end of a two-day festival celebrating Latino culture and music, with a heavily sponsored commercial presence.

About 70 people heard the pair — a much smaller and older crowd than had gathered earlier to see Mexican actress Silvia Navarro and other entertainers on the main stage for a panel discussion in Spanish. Muñoz and Bernal both said U.S. Latinos face great opportunities and challenges.


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