It's not NATO but the National Latino Congreso

It's not NATO but the National Latino Congreso
Attendees at the National Latino Congreso

Attention this weekend is on the NATO Summit and the protests surrounding it.

But in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood there is a convening of another kind.

It's the National Latino Congreso, a meeting of Latino leaders from Chicago and across the United States.

This is the first time the annual meeting is being held outside the Southwestern part of the United States.

"We are developing a sense of unity for the work we have ahead of us and developing a common agenda for our community," said Jose Calderon, president of the Hispanic Federation based in New York, said at the conference Thursday night.

Immigration, economic development, education, voting rights and civil rights are just some of the issues raised by community leaders at the conference. Their goal is to discuss policy agendas to benefit the Latino community.

"We have not won equality. We have not won justice," said Antonio Gonzalez, president of the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project and the William C. Velasquez Institute.

The conference also focuses on developing leadership.

"You are creating a new generation of leadership with a consciousness," said Eduardo Arnal Palomera, the consul general of Mexico in Chicago.

The conference, which also includes an art exhibit, runs through Saturday at the Arturo Velazquez Tecnhical Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave.

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