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IE Latino Voices shines light on Latino-led and serving organizations.

June 12: IE Latino Voices

Yvette Walker

With KVCR News. I'm Yvette Walker. This is IE Latino Voices, where we invite representatives from Latino led and Latino serving organizations to share their stories and their impact in our region. Joining me today is Art Alcaraz, past president and current board member with Riverside Latino Network. Thank you so much for being with us today, Mr Alcaraz.

Art Alcaraz

Thank you for having me, Yvette.

Yvette

Mr. Alcaraz, please talk about the history of the Latino Network and how you became involved.

Art

Latino Network in Riverside has been around since 1993. It came to be when there was Riverside Community College District trustee vacancy, and there was an interest in the Latino community of trying to get some representation on the board. So, we gathered as a group to try to push the cause and help that candidate get elected. It didn't happen. However, we said, you know, look at all these people. We got together people of influence in the community. Let's keep meeting, and let's meet on a regular basis. And that's how Latino Network was born.

Yvette

Please share the mission of the Latino network.

Art

Our mission is really youth, arts, community, education. We want to share information that impacts the Latino community in Riverside and surrounding areas.

Yvette

Mr. Alcaraz, please talk about the Latino Leadership Conference.

Art

Every year we have a Latino Leadership Conference, or Leadership Institute. Last year we had one at UCR, which was attended by 110 students. This year, October 19, we're planning another one. It's going to be held at Riverside City College. We're targeting 200 students this year. We're in the process of planning that, (and) getting the students enrolled. We've made outreach to schools before school closed this year, and it will hit them up again early fall or summer, when school starts early. And we're working on putting on a good speaker program for the students.

Yvette

Please talk about the goals the Latino Network has for students that are involved with your program.

Art

We want students to prepare for life through education, whether it's education for an AA degree, a bachelor's degree, or education related to some apprentice or skills training. It's not about selling, you know, bachelor's degrees, necessarily, but think future. And what steps does it take to get there? What training do I need to be successful? So, we want to expose students in this, you know, Leadership Conference, to different occupations, different steps, get them to think future. You know, preparation is the key for whatever occupation you're looking or pursuing.

Yvette

And what do future goals of the Latino network look like?

Art

We have a lot of goals. We just had a retreat last Saturday. So, this is a timely question. You know, we want to create a stronger presence in the community. We want to create a stronger presence in the surrounding community, Mareno Valley, Jurupa Valley, San Bernardino, Colton. On the other side, you know, Corona, Eastvale. We want to put a Community Calendar together featuring artists, featuring dichos, because we start every general meeting with the dicho, and we have an artist corner featuring local artists. So, we want to turn that idea into an annual calendar that we want to put out in 2025. We're looking for another signature event that maybe we might want to put on. So, a lot of creative ideas from a very energetic board.

Yvette

Are there upcoming events you would like to share?

Art

Well, this isn't a Latino network event, but one that we're involved in to some degree. June 22 is the anniversary of the opening of the Cheech Museum in Riverside. You know, some of our group will be a part of that. Later on in the year, we have, well, I mentioned the October 19 Leadership Conference. September 17, we're going to have an event in front of City Hall, kind of kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month. We'll have Mariachi Juvenil de Riverside performing. We'll have some folklorico dancers, we'll have pan dulce, we'll have paletas and maybe some other booths there to make it a fun, lively event. And then it'll conclude with the City Council proclaiming Hispanic Heritage Month.

Yvette

Mr. Alcaraz, please share the best way for the community to connect with you and the Latino Network.

Art

We just updated our web page if you visit www.riversidelatinonetwork.org, you can find our board of directors. You can find some of our activities. You can find some of our history. You could find the history of our Cesar Chavez Memorial, history of the organization, history of our nuestra la vida, breakfast, information about our leadership, conference and other information that might be interesting to the community, some of the events that we've done over the years.

Yvette

Thank you so much for sharing time with us today, Mr. Alcaraz.

Art Alcaraz

Thank you very much.

Yvette Walker

Join us again next week for IE Latino Voices, you can find this story and others on our website at kvcrnews.org/ielatinovoices. IE Latino Voices is produced by KVCR Public Media and is funded by generous support from the CIELO Fund at IECF, uplifting and investing in the IE’s Latino community. For KVCR News, I'm Yvette Walker.

Yvette Walker is a Spanish bilingual, Southern California native and owner of Premier Marketing & Public Relations, a full-service, digital media and traditional media marketing and public relations firm and produces and hosts ABC News Affiliate - Southern California Business Report.