Workshop outlines good, bad of being Latino in Walla Walla

Communication seemed to be the main issue and possibly the solution to some problems.

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WALLA WALLA -- Close to 70 people attended a political awareness forum at St. Patrick's Church on Sunday to help address issues facing local Hispanics.

"Although the goal was to get to problems effecting the Latino community, we didn't want to just talk about all the bad stuff and how all that is," lead organizer and Whitman College student Pedro Galvao said.

He added that his political action group, El Proyecto Voz Latina, also wanted to identify the positive aspects Latinos experience while living in the Walla Walla Valley.

"People felt they loved living here, and they felt welcome and not discriminated against ... We started out with what the good things were about living here. And then at the very end we got to what are the issues and what we can do to help improve the community."

Working conditions, education, information, immigration, political representation, gangs, low-paying jobs and a general lack of communication with the rest of the Walla Walla community were issues identified at the three-hour work session.

Galvao said communication seemed to be the main issue and possibly the solution.

"We can't attack it all. We know that. But one common thread that we know is that we have no information. We need to know about labor laws. We need to know about our rights. We need to know about after-school programs," Galvao said, noting the his group would now try to develop booklets and other ways to distribute information to the Spanish-speaking community.

Fore more information on "El Proyecto Voz Latina," e-mail Galvao at mi.voz.latina@gmail.com.

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