As part of HESTEC (Hispanic Engineering, Science & Technology) Week, UTPA held a congressional roundtable to talk education and how to best engage Latino students in math & science careers. U.S. Secretary of State Hilda Solis with U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar, Rubén Hinojosa, and Raul Grijalva were a part of this discussion. Thanks to Rep. Hinojosa, LUPE staff had the opportunity to meet some of our political leaders to talk about these issues plus immigration.
Before the event, Juanita (LUPE’s executive director) was telling me how we had not heard from the Department of Labor in 8 years while Bush was in office. It was only when Hilda Solis was appointed as the new Labor Secretary that LUPE was visited by local Department of Labor staff. For 8 long years before this, LUPE along with several other organizations tried engaging with the Dept. of Labor to advocate for workers’ rights but that communication was not reciprocated.
What a world of a difference a change of administration makes! Now, the lines of communication have been re-opened between the Dept. of Labor and labor rights organizations. One of Secretary Solis’s staff members even did a presentation at a LUPE meeting a few months ago to talk about workers’ rights. Thank you, Secretary Solis for supporting agriculture jobs, farmworkers, and workplace protections!
We also had the chance to meet and thank Rep. Raul Grijalva for his work against the border wall and his work on comprehensive immigration reform. He voted against the Secure Fence Act and voted against the most anti-immigrant bill of our time, HR4437.
The Rio Grande Guardian also spoke with Secretary Solis and our representatives about health care and the public option. Read more here.