HALO Latinas in Chicago

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“If it is to be, it is up to me” Jimmy Cabrera said, president of Success Through Excellence, and is one of the many inspirational quotes that the hundreds of students at the 33rd USHLI (United States Hispanic Leadership Institute) conference took home with them. The USHLI has developed one of the most powerful, nationally and internationally recognized Latino organizations in the country and three of Seward County Community College/Area Technical School HALO members; Diana Nieblas, Sindy Humaran and I were able to be part of it. This conference consisted of four days and every bit of it was packed with motivational words to all Latinos. There were different Latino workshops and forums that students could attend, fancy food, and fun dances on two of the nights. One of the aspects I liked the most was that there were so many different people from different places all over the United States with roots from all over the Latino countries. So not only was this convention motivational, but it was a great opportunity to socialize with people outside of the usual. Not once did I think I would be surrounded by people from places like Ohio, Oregon, California, Indiana and other states. with roots from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and many international countries. I also heard some of the most influential speakers throughout this convention. One of them being the former mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio R. Villaraigosa. One could definitely hear his passion as he spoke. One of my favorite things said by him was, “Latinos need to vote not only for those who can’t but for respect. You have to tell yourself if not me than who? Don’t be lazy about it because If not now then when?” At first I was not sure if paying all the money I had to so that I could go on this trip would be worth it, but now that I am back and thinking back on it, it was totally worth it and I recommend to other HALO members. This is a great way to learn about Hispanic roots and be empowered to succeed. “This conference gives you great tools to become a leader and prove that Latinos can do it,” Vice President of HALO, Diana Nieblas said. If there’s one thing I got out of this trip it would be to never be ashamed of my roots because just because i’m Hispanic, it doesn’t make me or anyone else less capable of succeeding. Dozens of Hispanics have fought for our rights and it is up to us to represent them well. When the hundreds of Latino and nonlatino students stand chanting “si se puede” I cannot help but be inspired to tear away the stereotypes against the Latinos and be successful. I hope that’s the reaction everyone else got from this conference. The president of USHLI Dr. Juan Andrade Jr said, “We want our leaders of this generation and future generations to be securely rooted in our proud past, ready to take on the issues and the obstacles facing our community and our nation. Be proud of who we were. Be proud of who we are.”