Organizers in the Latino community plan a campaign to educate state lawmakers about their priorities at the 2012 Latino Day at the Capitol on March 29.
Hector Garcia, organizer and executive director of the state's Chicago Latino Affairs Council, said legislators should see Latinos as a resource they should invest in by creating more opportunities for the community.
"It's education, because of the achievement gap, and also jobs, and the creation of small businesses," Garcia said.
The council wants job training for Latinos and tax incentives for Latino start-ups. Members plan to call on legislators to reinstate access for undocumented people to the state Emergency Medical Assistance program. They also want the state to create a debt-relief program for college graduates who choose to work in Minnesota, and to raise the legal high school dropout age to 18 so more Latinos graduate.
"Our community is not accustomed to be as engaged as other communities are," Garcia said. "And what we're trying to do is make people aware that are we not only not a liability but a huge resource that hasn't been tapped."