For the meeting, we had a panel of Hispanic Leaders in Business & Politics in commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month. They began by introducing their background:
Danny Alvarez- local attorney and a former TBYR vice president. “We are all Americans first.” He loves his knowledge of Spanish and comfort level for working with the Hispanic Community. It helps him really value being an American and he makes sure he doesn’t take anything for granted.
Armando Arana- Born in Nicaragua, and fled with his family from hostile regime. Happy to embrace American culture especially living in Miami. Truly believes the US is the land of opportunity. Coming from a third world country that has seen democracy and tyranny, he loves how unique the Hispanic community is here and firmly believes this country is the best place in the world to succeed.
Wadi Gaitan- From Baltimore originally, and is now based in Tallahassee as the Communications Director of the Republican Party of Florida. He believes the RPOF has to reach out to all those with different backgrounds, stories, heritages and help individuals to understand that Republicans are the party of opportunity. He has a sentiment to build to this country and contribute to the nation as a result of the community he grew up in.
Jonathan Torres-We get to carry the flag every day as to what is best for our community, culture, and family and friends who are pursuing the American dream. Education is the key factor to success here. He grew up spending summers in Colombia, and developed a sense of appreciation for the privileges, freedoms, and comforts of US. Even the poor here have a better opportunity and quality of life.
Alejandro Salas- Manages sales for corporate events at IQPC. He comes from a Mexican heritage, and is happy to learn the community here and foster the culture while raising his kids. He is Republican due to the values he’s been raised with as a result of his conservative heritage.
Do the Hispanic communities have different values- how do we contact to these communities?
“Need to break down their experience level (differential) from various cultures, to be able to successfully convey the message to them as a Republican” – ALVAREZ
“Need to know the political history and current political climate of where they are from to portray the Republican ideals and concepts here.” – TORRES
“Find common ground- we all, as Americans, have common ground to build a relationship on with voters” – GAITAN
Working for a non-partisan, non-profit organization, common ground is basically that there are diverse, emerging communities in FL that everyone has to adapt to. Example: Puerto Rican exodus- need to refocus and readjust the message so they understand. BEING IN FAVOR OF DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EQUAL DEMOCRAT. -ARANA
How do we successfully communicate to Hispanic voters without pandering?
“I am not telling you something because I want to win your vote, but I genuinely care about your experiences. Pandering is changing who you are and what you believe.” -GAITAN
“Spotting leaders in the community- what values they have in common will help send the message- resembling values with the leaders representing them on the world stage.” -TORRES
The meeting concluded with updates from the new board and announcement of upcoming events. Upcoming is a TBYR Meet-Up at Oktoberfest on October 10th at Curtis Hixon Park, and our monthly meeting on October 27th at the Crowne Plaza Westshore.
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