AJC hosts annual Latino-Jewish Symposium, featuring keynote from prominent leader in strengthening ties between the two groups
Larry Gonzalez, founding principal of the Raben Group/LatinStrategies talked about his experience, and expounded upon the Committee’s mission.
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For over 100 years, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) has been on a global mission to advocate for the Jewish community and advance human rights and democratic values for all.
“Our organization is stepped in advocacy work, and has a history of fighting against all forms of discrimination in the United States,” said Marcia Bronstein, regional director for AJC Philadelphia/Southern NJ.
On Thursday, October 27, AJC hosted its annual Latino-Jewish Symposium, highlighting the relationship between both communities and discussing ways to ensure both communities are there for each other when their core values and identities are challenged.
This year’s Symposium, which was held at The Pyramid Club in Center City Philadelphia, had the theme “Shared Histories, Values, Agendas: Exploring New Frontiers in the Latino-Jewish Political Alliance.”
It fell on the four-year anniversary of the tragic Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, where 11 people were killed in a hate-filled massacre.
“Jews and Latinos are often targets of hate crime,” Bronstein noted.
“The more Jews and Latinos can come together to strengthen the fabric of American society, the better we can stand up together against bigotry and hatred,” she added. “This Symposium is one step towards doing the hard work to find meaningful solutions.”
This year’s keynote speaker was Larry Gonzalez, founding principal of The Raben Group/LatinStrategies.
Throughout his career, he has strived to help develop and implement comprehensive strategic plans to engage the Latino community and Hispanic members of Congress.
During his speech, Gonzalez shared his experiences, describing himself as “a bit of an anomaly in a sense” as it relates to his engagement with the Latino-Jewish Coalition.
Born and raised as a first-generation Mexican-American in Chicago, he grew up primarily around solely fellow Mexican-Americans.
It wasn’t until he got involved in politics that he had his first experience working alongside the Jewish community.
“It was eye-opening,” he said.
He came to it from the perspective of why does it matter?
From there, he helped put together a roundtable at Congress to talk about their experiences and see where some commonalities may exist.
What he saw from that endeavor was a hunger to have these discussions, and Gonzalez has spent his career trying to feed that hunger.
This year’s Latino-Jewish Symposium also featured important discussions about the influence of the Latino vote, as well as the relationship between the Latino community and the media. The discussions were led by Regional Political Director for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee Fernando Treviño, and Fernando Mendez, program director and host of radio show USALA Media, respectively.
Dr. Daniel Schidlow, co-chair of the Latino-Jewish Coalition and AJC board member, also shared some words about the mission of the Latino-Jewish Coalition.
The mission is to grow and strengthen relationships and expand cooperation and collaborative efforts.
“Both our groups see the need for stronger and more effective Latino-Jewish alliances to advocate initiatives such as immigration reform, education, economic empowerment, civic engagement, foreign policy… Both our groups share a conviction to expand and advance shared visions and goals at home and abroad,” said Dr. Schidlow.