LOS ANGELES, Aug. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With race relations, discrimination and the economic wellbeing of diverse populations driving the national discussion heading toward the November elections, prominent thought leaders gathered in Los Angeles today for "America's Future Summit: Reimagining Opportunity in a Changing Nation," hosted by The Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program, seeking innovative approaches to boost access to opportunity for the country's Latino-American Community and the nation.
"While we live in the land of opportunity, we know that it is not equally accessible to all. Your zip code, the color of your skin, your gender, and yes your language and immigration status determine whether you have access to the tools and onramps to that opportunity," said Monica Lozano, Chairwoman, Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program, and one of the most respected Hispanic business leaders in the country.
"We are all accountable for ensuring that equality, fairness, and upward mobility apply to our communities, and to the American Latino community in particular. We must ask ourselves how we ensure that everyone is invited and welcomed onto a level playing field allowing them the opportunity to reach their full potential and contribute to our nation," Lozano said.
More than 200 of the most important policy makers, thought leaders, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and practitioners participated in a day of ideas, problem solving, and values-based exchange in a unique format that combined panels, conversations, storytelling and artistic performances. Discussants heard the newest research, best practices, and emerging innovations in the fight against poverty and discrimination, among the prominent issues in the run-up to the 2016 Elections. They also participated in intentional idea generating sessions on 11 issues important to creating opportunity.
"Building a more prosperous Los Angeles means meeting the needs of our city's diverse communities," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Latinos make up almost half of L.A.'s population. Our voices must be heard in the larger conversation around jobs, education and public safety — because all Angelenos deserve an equal opportunity to pursue their dreams and find success."
In addition to Mayor Garcetti and Chairwoman Lozano, other participants included Julie Chavez Rodriguez, White House Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Public Engagement; Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and president of PolicyLink; Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Founder, Chairwoman and CEO of Care.com; Joseph Sanberg, Co-Founder and Chair, Aspiration.com; and playwright/actor Herbert Siguenza of the renown Latino comedy troupe, Culture Clash.
Abigail Golden-Vázquez, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program, summed up the goal of the summit and the work that still remains to boost access to opportunity for Latinos.
"Overcoming the invisibility of the Latino community, providing a voice and deepening understanding among those who have the power and resources to make an impact is what we're looking for," Golden-Vázquez said. "The issues are many. It could be quality education, or healthy communities, or good jobs. All of these and others will be needed if we are to truly re-imagine opportunity that is fairer and more equitable for all."
Capturing the essence of the event, summit participants representing a variety of backgrounds, sectors, and points of view, engaged in an interactive discussion on a pre-selected topic over lunch related to how opportunity can be reimagined today. This purposeful session challenged participants to foster collaboration, answer tough questions, and develop practical solutions.
A common theme mentioned during the summit emphasized that business, government, philanthropy, community organizations, individuals, and movements must work together to address community issues and increase opportunity for Latinos Community.
Throughout the day, participants were encouraged to share their thoughts about the summit over Social Media via Twitter at @AspenLatinos and @AspenInstitute, and with #FutureOfLatinos.
Target again served as the title sponsor of The Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program summit. Other sponsors included: The California Endowment, Comcast/NBC Universal Telemundo, The Ricardo Salinas Foundation, Toyota Motor North America, Inc., Edison International, and The Weingart Foundation.
About the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program
The Aspen Institute founded the Latinos and Society Program in 2015 to foster learning about American Latinos and to elevate their role in solving the country's most critical problems. This policy program convenes thought leaders and voices of all backgrounds and subject matter expertise to promote understanding of how the success of this nation - and the Latino community - are deeply intertwined. The program is developing a pipeline of Latino leaders and connecting them to Institute programs and networks to foster collaboration and help put policy changes into motion. Its vision is to develop a more informed citizenry and promote the engagement of all people in securing a prosperous and inclusive future for America. To learn more, follow @AspenLatinos, or visit AspenInstitute.org/policy-work/latinos-society.
SOURCE The Aspen Institute