HARRISBURG, PA: Leaders from across the region gathered today at the Harrisburg City Hall to make official announcement: the capital city is hosting the 6th Annual Pennsylvania Latino Convention (PALC), September 20-22. The main venue for the only Latino statewide conference is the Hilton Harrisburg Hotel. However, organizers plan to host different events throughout the city.
The convention is the premier event to advance the status and agenda of the 1.1 million residents of Latino descent. The Latino community is the largest growing segment of the population, accounting for more than fifty percent of the state’s population growth in the last two decades.
In 2020, the U.S. Hispanic population reached more than 62 million; and 3.5 million US citizens in the island of Puerto Rico. Hispanics/Latinos today make up one-in-five people in the nation. This population growth of Latinos accounted for 51% of the country’s population growth in the last decade.
According to organizers, the Hispanic market is the largest minority market in the U.S. and continues to expand in all aspects of the American economy. Hispanic/Latino spending power grew to $1.9 trillion in 2020, a remarkable increase of 87% from 2010.
“Last year, more than 32 million Latinos were eligible to vote – making Latinos the largest minority ethnic voting bloc for the first time in our nation’s history. Bringing the convention to the capital city and government center is a natural fit. Even when Latinos are fueling the state’s and nation’s growth, community’s progress on social justice issues has been a challenge that remains unsolved and without much attention. We have a new governor and leaders in the House and Senate, the convention is an opportunity for our executive and legislative branches of government to hear our concerns and include our voices in the Pennsylvania of the future,” said Norman Bristol Colon, chairman of the convention and planning committee. “We wish to create a bridge for unprecedented advances in the inclusion and progress of Latinos in all aspects of Pennsylvania life, culture, traditions, and its promising future,” he concluded.
Among the topics for discussion at this year’s convention is voter suppression, poverty, access to care, housing security, workforce development, and pay equity. Additionally, the convention annually hosts multiple events in the convention hall, including Latino Health Summit, Latino Education Summit, Workforce Development Townhall, Latina Women Conference, Business and Entrepreneurship Forum, Young Professionals Leadership Development, DEI Institute, Expo, Hispanic College Fair, and the State’s Official Hispanic Heritage Month Gala.
PALC is an opportunity to assemble the state’s movers & shakers, professionals, young professionals, leaders and emerging leaders, policymakers, advocates, entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, students, and community members to tackle issues impacting Latinos and all Pennsylvanians.
2023 PLANNING COMMITTEE
1. Dr. Damary M. Bonilla Rodríguez, Turning Purpose into Action
2. Mr. Norman Bristol Colon, PA Department of Community and Economic Development
3. Mr. Luis Campos, City of Easton
4. Dr. Leonardo Claros, St. Luke’s University and Health Network
5. Ms. Jael Conde, Mendoza Group
6. Ms. Diana Escalante, Highmark
7. Mr. Eric Fontánez, Bethlehem Area School District
8. Mr. Bryan Garcia, Fulton Bank
9. Ms. Edna Garcia-Dipini, FoxGlove Group
10. Ms. Wilmarie Gonzalez, Care Bridge
11. Ms. Edith Guitierrez-Hawbaker, Te Lo Juro Collective
12. Mr. Henry Hernandez, Capital Blue Cross
13. Dr. Nilsa Lasso-von Lang, Moravian University
14. Mr. Guillermo Lopez, The Guillermo Lopez DEI Institute
15. Dr. Raffy Luquis, Penn State – Harrisburg
16. Ms. Debra Martinez, PA Department of Community and Economic Development
17. Ms. Olga Negron, HGSK Lawyers
18. Mr. Julio C. Nuñez, School District of Philadelphia
19. Mr. Nate Rivera, Geisinger
20. Ms. Altagracia Robles, Community Leader
21. Dr. Millie Roman-Buday, Northampton Community College
22. Ms. Monica Ruiz, Casa San Jose of Pittsburgh
23. Mr. Edwin Segarra, Business Leader
24. Ms. Gloria Vazquez-Merrick, Latino Hispanic American Community Center of Harrisburg