United States Hispanic Leadership Institute hosts national conference in Chicago

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CHICAGO — Latinos are poised to have a big impact in the 2020 presidential election, and on Thursday, organizations were in Chicago looking for the next generation of leaders.

Hundreds of young faces sat and paid attention to the message of one of the leading Latino organizations in the country —  the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute.

State Sen. Celina Villanueva had the task of explaining why this is an important year in regard to the election.

So far, 7 and a half million Latinos are registered to vote in four states: Nevada, Texas, Colorado and California. They’re expected to be the second largest voting block on Super Tuesday. But 2020 also marks an important census count.

“It serves two purposes the allocation of money and the allocation of political power,” Juan Andrade, president of USHLI, said.

It’s a message Andrade knows all too well. The community activist and former teacher has been around for decades. He was arrested in the 70’s for speaking Spanish in his own classroom, so he’s seen the evolution of the Latino community. At a time when college enrollment is dropping overall, he said his community is stepping in.

“In the Latino community, high school graduation is up,” he said. “College graduation is up.”

In the last few decades, the USHLI has registered millions of people to vote. This year, voter turnout is expected to set an all-time record high of 15 million Latinos.

Many lot of big names are expected at this year’s conference including Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda.

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