By Staff Writer
Voice & Viewpoint

When the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund held its 31st Annual Political Convention here in Coronado recently, they were faced with a last minute cancellation by Congressman John Lewis to participate on its luncheon panel. In its efforts to find a last minute replacement to take Congressman Lewis’ place on the panel, Andrea Guerrero of Alliance San Diego and Rafael Castellanos with the San Diego La Raza Lawyers referred local NAACP President, Lei Chala Wilson to replace Lewis on the panel. They thought Wilson would be a perfect fit because of her impressive Civil Rights background.

The other two panelists were the Hon. Alberto A. Gonzales, Former United States Attorney General and Ms. Delores Huerta, President and Founder of Dolores Huerta Foundation. The theme of the panel was “50 Years After the Civil Rights Act: Where Are We Now?” Wilson shared “ “It was a wonderful opportunity for me to participate, and commemoration the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.” She believes although some thought it was a time to celebrate, she felt it was a time to ask whether we should celebrate verses questioning how far we have come and how much further we have to go.” Sitting among some the states greats, Wilson reflected “I shared with them that to me being Black in America is like watching the same old movie over and over again. The only thing that’s changed is the series and the actors and actresses.”

On July 2, 2014, the Civil Rights Act celebrated its 50th anniversary. Since the passage of this landmark legislation our nation has seen continued progress to advance and protect the civil rights of its people. Despite the strides that have been made to end social injustice, work remains to be done. This session discussed the evolution and future of the civil rights movement and its place in society today-for Latinos and all Americans.

The NALEO 31st Annual Conference is unlike any other professional development gathering elected and appointed officials. The conference presents a unique opportunity for Latino policymakers to meet with their colleagues from all levels of government to address the challenges and opportunities facing communities and the nation.

Photos by Earl Davis Jr.

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