Conference Addresses Wealth Preservation, Health, Education, Climate Change & Child Poverty

Washington, DC (CapitalWirePR) — With its Latina Breakfast on Saturday the National Puerto Rican Coalition [NPRC] opened its 31st Annual Policy Conference at the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia. The three day policy conclave is shaped around sessions on education, voting rights, health, environment, housing and social investment.

The educational session addresses No Child Left Behind and a new era of accountability. Moderated by Edwin Vargas (Chair of the NPRC Policy Committee) of Hartford, Connecticut, the panel addressed making improvements to the law under the upcoming reauthorization process.

Raul Gonzalez of the National Council of La Raza, Dr. Heidi Ramirez of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission and the Honorable Maria Quinones-Sanchez have been invited to present.

A panel of experts discussed major initiatives to promote higher electoral participation and protect voters against racial profiling, voter intimidation, and deceptive practices that often target and exploit vulnerable populations such as minorities, the disabled and the poor.

The Justice Department lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia on violations of the Voting Rights Act adversely affecting Hispanic and Spanish speaking voters has been a focus point. The panel was moderated by Juan Ramos, NPRC Conference Chair; with Romy Diaz, the Associate General Counsel, Exelon Business Services Corporation; Wilfredo Rojas, President of the Dover Valley Voter Registration project; and Yvetter Rivera, Acting Deputy Chief of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice as panelists.

With a torrid Presidential debate on health care issues as backdrop, Dr. Eric Muñoz of the New Jersey Medical School-University Hospital moderated presentations by Dr. Jaime Torres of Latinos for National Health Insurance and Ms. Sinsi Hernandez-Cancio of SEIU Healthcare.

Markets worldwide are reverberating to the scope and scale of the mortgage meltdown. Keeping families in their homes and in possession of their assets is being addressed by Paul Roldan of Chicago’s Hispanic Housing and Development Corporation as moderator; Hiram Carmona of Philadelphia’s Office of Housing and Communtiy Development; Nilda Ruiz of Philadelphia’s Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha; and Patricia DeCarlo of the Norris Square Civic Association also of Philadelphia.

Latino Leadership on Climate Change is moderated by Manuel Mirabal. Mr. Mirabal who brings a national reputation as an effective policy advocate on behalf of Puerto Rico and all Hispanics to this session. He was joined by Dr. Gabirela Lemus of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

Dr. Lemus also Co-Chairs the National Latino Coalition on Climate Change. Dr. Nicky Sheats of the Center for Urban Environment at ThomasEdisonState College and Ms. Isabel Long of the Sierra Club are rounding out the panelists. Assessing disproportionate impacts on minority communities and developing solutions with Latino participation are key themes being addressed.

Today over one third of all Puerto Rican children in the states live in poverty.

With extensive experience working in the Puerto Rican community moderator Robert Carmona of STRIVE National; Professor Maria Kefalas of Saint John’s University; Lizette Agosto Cintron of Congreso de Latinos Unidos; and Jennifer Weidenbaum of Girls Inc. of New York City focused on overcoming challenges for breaking the cycle of poverty.

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