Last Saturday I attended the 25th Annual Somos El Futuro conference up in Albany, New York. This is the first time that I have attended the conference in years. I had gone to the first one twenty-five years ago and had attended them annually.
However, I stopped going up to these conferences when I realized that there was no real progress-taking place on the sad state of affairs for our Latino community. I suggested that the name be changed to from Somos El Futuro to “Somos Ninguno” because aside from the great parties, I saw no tangible achievements from the workshops and sessions I attended.
Bronx Assemblyman, Marcos Crespo was now chairing the task force and that was the only reason I attended this one. Mr. Crespo is not my assemblyperson; however, I have had the privilege of working with him as part of the Discovery for Justice campaign that I have been integrally involved since the inception. The campaign is working to reform the Criminal Procedure Law 240 that presently allows District Attorneys to withhold critical evidence at time of arraignment. This important, but unbeknown fact is a major reason why there are so many people of color being hauled off to jail, many who are innocent and of course leads to over 90% of the cases going through our criminal justice system being settled on a plea bargain.
Since my work in the campaign I have seen how Assemblyman Crespo has involved himself at our meetings, attending seminars and demonstrations and as a result he has earned my respect. As such I decided to attend this years’ Somos El Futuro because Mr. Crespo is now the new Chair of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force and I believe he should get all the support we can give him. He will need a lot of support to turn this annual conference from one of pure grandstanding by elected officials to one of an instrument to help organize our community for the change and respect that we need to get in a state that continues to disregard our growth and potential.
Attached is an article that appears in the National Institute for Latino Policy newsletter submitted by Assemblyman Crespo. If you read Mr. Crespo’s take on the status of the Latino community in both, state and city governments I believe you will agree that we need to give Mr. Crespo the support that he will need to help change the present reality.
I am also pleased that Assemblyman Crespo is the new Bronx County Democratic party chair. I believe that the Bronx county organization is due for a true overhaul that will help guide our neglected borough to the level that it should be with the best representation that the borough might have to offer and not just from friends and associates of a closed and limited county organization.
Our community has been crying for a major change and as of yet all we have received is small pocket gains here and there. But as you will read in Mr. Crespo’s piece, that is surely not enough and only a strong united Latino community that can attract all our diverse sectors can help bring the long awaited change needed. Our population continues to grow in this city and state, but our economic power continues to decline in the face of additional Latino elected officials that can’t seem to provide the unity and will needed to change our reality.
I for one have always been an optimist and am ready to support a possible new change.
Read the article: Crespo’s Piece