CHICAGO, March 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- During the 2012 presidential election, Latinos helped to raise more than $32 million to help re-elect Barack Obama. Now, as the immigration debate unfolds in Washington, PBS broadcaster Tavis Smiley, in partnership with The William C. Velasquez Institute, is gathering the nation's top Latinos for a national conversation on the challenges and opportunities facing the 50-million-strong community.
Under the theme "LATINO NATION: Beyond the Numbers," this all-day symposium, modeled after Smiley's signature State of the Black Union (SOBU) symposia, will include two 3-hour panel discussions from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Saturday, April 6, 2013, at Chicago State University, 9501 South King Drive, Chicago, IL 60628. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. for this free and open to the public event, and advance registration is required online at www.thelatinonation.com.
"'LATINO NATION: Beyond The Numbers'" will mark the first time that such a diverse and representative group of Latinos discusses its broad agenda on a national stage," said Antonio Gonzalez, president of The William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI). "Too often, our 50-million-strong community is viewed simply and narrowly by America. 'LATINO NATION' will reveal the depth and richness of our issues, thoughts and culture."
The nationally televised symposium, sponsored in part by Nationwide, will discuss the inevitable and growing role of Latinos in all aspects of American society through thoughtful and concrete dialogue, while examining proven solutions for economic growth in this vital community. Featuring some of the nation's most influential thinkers, entertainers, business and political leaders in the Latino community, panelists will discuss issues that matter most; such as health care, climate change, education, jobs and immigration.
"In the most multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic America ever, I'm excited to return to Chicago once again to dialogue with the nation's leading Latino influencers," said Smiley. "The exponential growth of this community demands that we re-examine the assumptions we hold to create new ideas and possibilities for a better, more united tomorrow."
Confirmed and invited panelists include: Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles; Margaret Moran, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); Antonio Gonzalez, president of The William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI); Adriana Quintero, senior attorney and director, La Onda Verde de NRDC; Dr. Juan Andrade Jr., president of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute; Luis Gutierrez, U.S. Representative (D-IL);Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF; Aracely Panameno, director of Latino Affairs at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL); Oscar Chacon, executive director of the National Alliance of Latin American & Caribbean Communities (NALACC); Hector Barreto, chairman of the Latino Coalition and former administrator of the Small Business Administration; David Montejano, professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley; Ileana Ros Lehtinen, U.S. Representative (R-FL); Eva Longoria, actress and activist; and others.
The symposium will air three consecutive nights on Tavis Smiley on PBS beginning Wednesday, April 10 through Friday, April 12, 2013. Additionally, "LATINO NATION" can be heard on The Tavis Smiley Show distributed through Public Radio International (PRI) the weekend of April 12. Those not in the Chicago area can watch the LIVE online stream at www.USTREAM.com/latinonation and engage in the conversation by using the Twitter hashtag #LatinoNation.
For additional information, visit www.thelatinonation.com.
About Tavis Smiley Presents
Tavis Smiley Presents produces events and programs dedicated to bringing thought-provoking discussions, engaging town hall meetings, and consumer expos to communities across the country. During the past 14 years, its programs have reached more than 2 million conference attendees and attracted millions of television viewers nationwide.
Tavis Smiley is the host of Tavis Smiley on PBS, and host of The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International (PRI). Smiley is also co-host of Smiley & West, a weekly news and opinion program featuring provocative commentary and exclusive interviews also distributed by PRI.
About The William C. Velasquez Institute
The William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) is a tax-exempt, non-profit, non-partisan public policy analysis organization chartered in 1985. The purpose of WCVI is to: conduct research aimed at improving the level of political and economic participation in Latino and other underrepresented communities; to provide information to Latino leaders relevant to the needs of their constituents; to inform the Latino leadership and public about the impact of public policies on Latinos; and to inform the Latino leadership and public about political opinions and behavior of Latinos.
SOURCE Tavis Smiley Presents