The center reports that of the 39 fellows who have completed the yearlong leadership academy, eight have sought state and local elected positions, with six emerging as victors. Among them are Dallas ISD school board members Jaime Resendez and Justin Henry. Other winners are state Rep. Victoria Neave, Cockrell Hill Mayor Pro-Tem Claudia Sandoval and Monica Lira-Bravo, a Dallas County Community College District trustee.
Past fellows also sit on many commissions and boards across North Texas, such as the DART board and the Dallas Housing Finance Corporation. The leadership center also has formed partnerships with influential policymakers such as the George W. Bush Policy Institute.
Latino center president Miguel Solis, a Dallas ISD trustee, notes that the operation’s mission — to develop a pipeline of policy leaders across the country to improve the lives of Latinos — is more critical now than ever.
“No one could have predicted what happened in 2016, ” Solis said. “We’d expected that this country’s leadership would recognize and respect the growth in Latino communities and put policies in place for positive change. The antithesis happened.”
That’s why it’s necessary for more Latinos and those who understand Latino issues to have a seat at the table on a host of issues. Those range from the separation of families at the border to efforts to improve education in Dallas ISD, where Latino students make up the majority of the population.