LATISM’11, A Spiritual Experience?
November 19, 2011 § 2 Comments
It’s been just over a week after the LATISM National Conference 2011. I spent the first few days recovering, and I’ve spent the last week or so catching up with my work and reaching out to those who I met at the conference. I met a lot of wonderful people and I made it a point to ask them for their thoughts about the conference.
I had one participant tell me that this was a spiritual experience. The conference affected each of us in different ways and it speak volumes about LATISM and the conference that we were able to invoke such deep feelings. I think I kept asking because I needed to validate what I was seeing and feeling was real and shared by others. For me, there were a few things that stood out and left an impression on me during the conference.
This was the first time that chapter directors and volunteers were in one place and worked together. It was amazing to see each person set aside self interest and do whatever it was necessary to make to conference a success. We put our titles aside and got to work. I think Ana put it best when she wrote on her conference recap that we had “Top bank programmers driving the shuttle? Elected officials registering people? Top marketers running crazy to fix signs?“ It was amazing to see the group come together for a common purpose and take ownership of different tasks and get them done and quickly move onto the next thing that needed to be done.
The LATISM group of directors is diverse group of individuals with varied careers and life experiences and that makes for very interesting conversation. I can honestly say that I had the most interesting conversations with several of the directors. I just wish I had more time to talk to more of you on an individual basis, but I guess there is always next year in Houston, TX. No doubt we have a group of talented chapter leaders.
Up to now I have not called out anyone by name, but I will do so for the next three persons I want to talk about. Before LATISM’11, I had only read about Dolores Huerta. Her speech was such an inspiration. What she has done for farm workers and Latinos in general is invaluable. She is such a petit lady but a giant in courage, heart, and character. She is an icon in the Latino community. Nos enorgullese Señora Huerta.
I’ve had the opportunity to hear Ramon De Leon speak several times. He has been a LATISM supporter since the very beginning. But it’s always an experience to hear him speak. He is a Social Media visionary and a role model to our youth. Es un orgullo tener un gran representante de Social Media entre nosotros los Latinos. I think sometimes we take this for granted, but the conference help me realize how important this is.
I don’t think we could’ve had a better speaker/performer for the closing ceremony. Tony Melendez is such an inspiration. Born without arms, he learned to play the guitar with his feet and has forged ahead as motivational speaker and performer. If Tony, with all the obstacles he has faced in his life, can have a bright outlook on life, why not us? The problems I encounter seem miniscule compared to those Tony has faced throughout his life. I cannot end without saying que eres un orgullo Guanaco, Tony.
Many attendees have told me that this has been the best conference they’ve been to. So I wondered why LATISM’11 was so different. I think it has to do with the people. This includes the attendees, panelists, moderators, speakers, volunteers, organizers and sponsors. Everyone had a genuine interest in bringing out the best in our community. And let’s not forget the Latino spirit. Where else are you going to get a day full of learning, inspiration and parranda all wrapped into one? I’ve never seen dancing at another conference. It’s that uniqueness that made LATISM’11 the success that it was.
Last but not least, We owe a huge thank you to the sponsors. Without them, we couldn’t have had the opportunity to meet, collaborate, make friendships, hear Dolores Huerta speak, hear Ramon speak, be inspired by Tony Melendez, and enjoy that what makes us Latinos. So here it goes, I big Thank you, Gracias, and Merci to our sponsors.
I hope to see everyone next year in Houston.