White House Came To Listen At New Mexico Summit

By Maria Elena Alvarez

Albuquerque, New Mexico — The White House has put a bead on the Hispanic community, and if Albuquerque were a microcosm of what is happening across the country, the administration’s professionals are getting an earful.

First I want to say kudos to all the native born members of the administration for coming home, which is probably going on everywhere, but their presence was a good move and added depth to my experience. Adults like myself knew these people, or of them, and respected them as professionals and were glad to see them at the Hispanic Community Action Summit here.

The intent was to have the day be citizen-driven, within the context of what the White House wanted to get a pulse for: jobs/economic recovery; immigration; education and affordable healthcare. Within that, the 400-plus group of citizens set the afternoon Open Space Process (OSP). This process was citizen-directed and attended by the appropriate administration professional/s.

Speaking as an observer of people for over 35 years, what this allowed for was a process that was flexible. A good example was the OSP on economic opportunity “Land Grants: Access to Communal Lands for Traditional uses.” It was attended by Deanna Archuleta, Senior Advisor at Department of Interior and respected former county commissioner in Bernalillo County, an issue and history she knows well.

Education was big and there were plenty of teachers, students, a University of New Mexico provost, educators from public, private, charter, non-traditional schools and GED programs to make this a very meaningful experience for the over 100 people gathering in a tight circle. I have to say that the passion on this front left no stone unturned with a wide spectrum of great ideas and solutions.

These Hispanic Summits were developed to let people have their voices heard. As both, a 35-plus year journalist, newspaper publisher, now business owner, I immediately saw the merit. Because this day-long, 9 to 5 event, with a moderate-to-high level of attention brought people into a very sharp focus. One of my favorite was a groups of young girls who led an OSP on underage drinking, for example.

In small business, one knows that when these sessions are well orchestrated they can bring huge results. It is the creative process and good for those gathering the data and those who are a part of it. I myself know much more today than I did yesterday about what was is on the minds of people outside my cave.

A lot of what was said in Albuquerque is being heard across the country but in detail what was heard in New Mexico is unique to this state. A big issue here is the lack of good employment from the state’s two national laboratories: Los Alamos and Sandia National labs. Yolanda Garcia Olivarez, the Regional Administrator for the Small Business Administration, heard an important message delivered by one of the state’s most well-known and respected Hispanic activists, Ralph Arellanes, President of the local Hispanic Roundtable, with a big voice and a good rod he is comfortable wielding.

Citizens in Albuquerque spoke for many in the Hispanic mundo. They had an educated voice, a young voice, a very grassroots voice, a Spanish voice and they reflect our reality. While I cannot in good faith put my name on the line as to what boat the results of these meetings are going to float, the process was good. It caused what I consider a gathering of an important group of people focusing and talking to each other.

The White House developed the spectrum; economy, education, immigration and healthcare, but the citizens drove the conversation. If 300 citizens speak for at least 100 voices, journalist’s industry standard, at the end of the day the Summit was a roar in Albuquerque.

The Qué Bárbaro award goes to the politicians who got recognized in the morning and split like bananas without hearing the will of the people.

Maria Elena Alvarez has spent three decades in journalism with roots two generations back and one forward. Her experience includes bureau chief, beat reporter, national magazine editor, arts editor, editorial board writer/columnist, newspaper publisher and she continues telling the story. For more visit her website

[Photo By Maria Elena Alvarez]

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

U.S. citizen detained overnight by ICE – they thought he was undocumented

Victor Landa July 6, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (1.5 minute read)  This is startling news. Up until last night at a dinner conversation I believed that the idea that an American citizen would be […]

DIECIOCHO Podcast: Texas Rep. Rafael Anchia – Trump, Gerrymandering and Money

NewsTaco June 8, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (1 minute read, 34 minute listen)  It’s safe to say that the just-ended Texas legislative session was the most acrimonious in memory. We can talk for […]

Vietnam War veteran fears he could be deported

Victor Landa July 7, 2017

*This Vietnam veteran, born in Mexico, was awarded two Purple Hearts and given U.S. citizenship after his service. He’s misplaced his documents and after paying $345 the government wants more […]

Ted Cruz gets an earful in McAllen for July 4

Victor Landa July 5, 2017

*I’m posting this because it was mostly Latinos, organizing, protesting, making their voices heard. Everyone needs to know that Latinos in deep South Texas are standing up. VL By Patrick […]

The moment Florida cops pull over an Afro-Latina and find she’s the State Attorney

Victor Landa July 13, 2017

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco Patrol cops in  Orlando, Florida, stopped a white sedan recently becasue they ran the tags and didn’t get a return, plus, the tint on the windows […]

Henry Cisneros: Why Can’t Americans See Latinos Are Country’s ‘Saving Grace’?

Victor Landa July 7, 2017

*Good question. I think it’s because we’re not the ones telling our story. We need to fight for our narrative. VL By Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News (1.5 minute read)  SAN […]

Remembering Gus Garcia, Mexican-American Civil Rights Pioneer

Victor Landa July 27, 2017

By Raul A. Reyes, NBC News (7.5 minute read)   In his heyday, Gus Garcia cut a dashing figure in Texas legal and social circles. He was a key member […]

A Proposed New Tax, Mainly On Latinos, To Pay For Trump’s Border Wall

NewsTaco May 31, 2017

*This happened yesterday, while the rest of us were mesmerized by the Peckinpahesque implosion of the Trump administration, congress was moving a piece of legislation that would fund the Trumpian […]