Both of PERRO’s proposed resolutions at the 2012 National Latino Congreso pass with unanimous consent…

The 7th Annual National Latino Congreso, the first to be held outside the Southwestern United States, concluded Saturday afternoon at the Arturo Velazquez Institute. Over the three days of the convening, hundreds of Latino leaders and community members agreed to a collective advocacy agenda ahead of November elections. Dozens of groups representing the Latino Community nationally participated including the National Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean Communities (NALACC), the William C. Velazquez Institute (WCVI), the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP), the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Latino Policy Forum, and The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR).

PERRO played a central role in helping organize the Congreso and was a significant component of the Congreso’s proceedings, organizing two workshops at the Congreso and proposing two resolutions, both of which were passed by the unanimous consent of the delegates.

The first of PERRO’s resolutions to pass concerned “climate refugees”, persons forced to migrate in response to the effects of climate change. The resolution calls on Congreso members to advocate for a new, legally binding international agreement on the status of climate refugees. You can view the resolution here…

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B9_FvLqe8tUyNWdNNWF3RWJLX1E

PERRO’s resolution on the cumulative impact of pollution sources in environmental justice communities also passed with unanimous support. The resolution calls on the members of the Congreso to advocate for the U.S. government and the federal and state EPA’s to develop policies to reduce the number of pollution sources in highly impacted communties. The resolution can be viewed here…

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B9_FvLqe8tUyb0tJWWVzak9yY2s

PERRO also seconded several resolutions including a resolution submitted by United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) calling for “retail workers summits” to be held around the country to highlight the exploitation of workers in the retail sector and a resolution submitted by the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) calling on the Congreso members to work to defend Social Security.

PERRO organized two workshops at the Congreso…

“Environmental Justice: From the Local to the Global”, discussed the local impacts of environmentally destructive practices such as extractive industries in Central America and the growing connection between climate change and migration. PERRO members Jerry Mead-Lucero and Claudia Lucero discussed the issue of climate refugees and the current drought in Northern Mexico. Oxfam brought Rodolfo Calles from El Salvador and Juliana Turqui from Guatemala to talk about the effects of mining in their countries.

“Work and Environmental Justice Struggles in Chicago Communities”, discussed workers struggles and struggles against pollution in Chicago’s Pilsen, La Vilita and Southeast Side communities. Participants also explored how worker’s and union struggles intersect with the fight for environmental justice. Kimberly Wasserman Nieto discussed the work of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) in La Villita. Peggy Salazar of the Southeast Environmental Task Force (SETF) discussed the many pollution sources that effect the resident of Chicago’s far southeast side. Moises Zavala of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) discussed their efforts to fight for justice for Chicago’s retail workers. And Jerry Mead-Lucero from PERRO discussed environmental justice struggles in Pilsen and PERRO’s work with unions like the Teamsters and UFCW.

Both workshops elicited lively discussions on local and global environmental issues and their intersection with broader concerns of social and economic justice in the Latino community. These topics also entered the larger plenary discussions. At one point, Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia pointed to the announced closure of the Fisk and Crawford coal fired power plants as a example of a major victory for grass roots organizing in Chicago’s Latino communities, which received a burst of applause from the assembly. PERRO made links with several local and national organizations and discussed the possibility of future joint efforts around struggles for environmental justice at the local and global level.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *