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In Partnership with The William C. Velásquez Institute, PBS Broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Univision America’s Fernando Espuelas to Moderate a National Conversation with Latino Leaders about Critical Issues like the Economy, Healthcare, Education and Immigration

Chicago, IL (BlackNews.com) — In the wake of the historic political muscle flexed by America’s 50-million-strong Latino community in the 2012 elections, PBS broadcaster Tavis Smiley, in partnership with The William C. Velásquez Institute, is gathering America’s Latino leaders in the nation’s third-largest Latino market for “LATINO NATION: Beyond The Numbers,” Saturday, April 6, 2013, at Chicago State University, 9501 South King Drive, Chicago, IL.

This all-day symposium will include 2 three-hour panel discussions, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Smiley will moderate the morning panel, and Univision America’s syndicated radio host Fernando Espuelas will moderate in the afternoon. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. for this free and open-to-the-public event. Advance registration is required online at http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001NaMT3l_wvN5UUslZUJnQk2mB71-Wv05RDOMYRP1YN3HbjPfFm3LjTVaH0svoVqrfItSFPsQxnE_IWXhhoNY-eYa5_SAA311S4u1OdZMwkaMHYyAEMqV5_g==.

“Whether of Mexican, Cuban, South American or Caribbean heritage, America’s destiny is forever linked to its recognition and understanding of its diverse Latino citizens,” said Smiley. “Gone forever are the days of painting Latinos as a monolithic or insignificant community. In many respects, as the Latino community goes, so goes America.”

During the nationally televised symposium, panelists will examine the full range of Latino social, political, economic and cultural influence on American life. According to the Pew Research Hispanic Center, Latinos are the largest minority group now on America’s college campuses, including 44 percent of those attending college in Chicago. More than 46 percent of Latinos are homeowners in this country, and 67 percent of those live in the Windy City. Also, “LATINO NATION” panelists will challenge stereotypes that plague the 14 million Latino voters, whose ranks grow by approximately 20 percent every four years.

Confirmed and invited panelists include: Antonio González, president of The William C. Velásquez Institute (WCVI); Luis Gutiérrez, U.S. Representative (D-IL); Eva Longoria, actress and activist; Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF; Adriana Quintero, senior attorney and director, La Onda Verde de NRDC; Aracely Panameño, 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; Ana Navarro, Republican political strategist; Jesus Garcia, commissioner, District 7, Cook County, Illinois; Stephanie Sanchez, student trustee board member of Chicago State University; David Montejano, professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley; Mary Rose Wilcox, supervisor, District 5, Maricopa County, Arizona; Xavier Gutiérrez, president and chief investment officer of Meruelo Capital Partners; Bettina Inclán, director of Hispanic Outreach for the Republican National Committee; Domingo Garcia, Law Offices of Domingo Garcia; Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO; and others.

“‘LATINO NATION: Beyond The Numbers’ promises to shatter the skewed lens through which much of America still view us,” said Antonio González, president of The William C. Velásquez Institute. “Tens of millions of viewers will get unprecedented access to Latino thinking and insights on a range of issues rarely heard before.”

Highlights from this symposium will air over three consecutive nights on Tavis Smiley on PBS beginning Wednesday, April 10 through Friday, April 12, 2013. Additionally, selected portions of “LATINO NATION” can be heard on The Tavis Smiley Show, distributed through Public Radio International (PRI), the weekend of April 12. C-SPAN will broadcast the conversation in its entirety the week of April 29. Those not in the Chicago area can watch the symposium LIVE online or on mobile at http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001NaMT3l_wvN47QOroqT-hH9xBXEpNn-qQkwQFoVyOMtAtoKvvOxjsyrg4CeGVfqkqgcrikAgQ-gXcz0rURJHy-acwEYho0WHpVVtnqAPIIHFhbrY9G9Tbu-g2BJMLxz2e, and everyone can engage in the conversation by using the Twitter hashtag #TheLatinoNation2013.

For additional information, visit http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001NaMT3l_wvN5UUslZUJnQk2mB71-Wv05RDOMYRP1YN3HbjPfFm3LjTVaH0svoVqrfItSFPsQxnE_IWXhhoNY-eYa5_SAA311S4u1OdZMwkaMHYyAEMqV5_g==.

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 two 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. Velásquez Institute
The William C. Velásquez 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.

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