JOLIET – On Nov. 7, more than 100 Joliet Township High School students attended the seventh annual Latinx Empowerment Conference at Joliet Junior College hosted by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and JJC Latinos Unidos.
The event had over 400 students and staff in attendance from the following schools: Joliet Central High School, Joliet West High School, Lockport High School, Plainfield North High School, Plainfield East High School, Morris High School, Bolingbrook High School, and Romeoville High School.
Judy Mitchell, president of Joliet Junior College, and Martha Villegas Miranda, MSSW, Multicultural Student Success Pathway coach and Latinos Unidos advisor, welcomed the students. They encouraged students to reflect on this year’s theme: “Aspire to Inspire” or “Aspira a Inspirar.”
After the welcoming remarks, students participated in a breakout session where they attended a workshop and heard from JJC students, alumni, staff and community members on how to plan for college success. High School educators participated in a separate breakout session for their professional development.
The keynote speaker of the conference was Cesar Vargas, Esq., the first undocumented lawyer in the state of New York.
He is a nationally recognized leader and innovator at the forefront of the fight for immigration reform.
His advocacy and story helped in the national efforts to convince Barack Obama to broaden opportunities for millions of undocumented by expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
After the keynote speech, students participated in an Empowerment Resource Fair featuring local organizations such as the Spanish Community Center and the Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project.
During the resource fair, students also enjoyed dancing to a performance by local musical group Tamborazo Rancho Bonito.
Eddie Lopez, a JJC and Joliet West alumnus, and Jesus Patino, a student leader of JJC’s Latinos Unidos and alumnus of Joliet Central High School, gave the closing remarks.