Latino forum in S. Toledo draws heated exchanges

Baldemar Velasquez, president of Toledo-based Farm Labor Organizing Project, told those in attendance that it was time for the Latino community to become more aggressive in speech and actions.

State Sen. Edna Brown

Baldemar Velasquez

The Latino forum’s purpose was to discuss collaboration opportunities, but more than anything it exposed a growing chasm among the community’s leadership as it struggles to address long-standing problems such as lagging educational achievement, health inequality, and immigration-related issues.

The forum hosted last week by Adelante, the Latino and Community Resource Center, drew more than 100 Latino leaders and community activists to the Sofia Quintero Art & Cultural Center in South Toledo.

Toledo City Councilman Adam Martinez said that because state and federal funding is shrinking, Latinos’ best strategy to promote community projects and programs is to “start talking to our state legislators and representatives before funding decisions are made.”

“I hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but there’s only so many dollars out there,” said state Sen. Edna Brown (D., Toledo), who also addressed the Latino community during the meeting. “We have excellent projects submitted, but we can’t fund all of them. So, we want to see if some of these things can be combined.”

Several longtime Latino leaders rebuked Mr. Martinez and Senator Brown.


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