One America - Latino-Jewish Leadership Series

Program: Latino-Jewish Leadership Series, Los Angeles, CA
Contact(s): Arturo Vargas, Executive Director: (323) 720-1932
Purpose: To encourage discussion, dialogue and interaction between members of the Hispanic and Jewish communities

Background Program Operations Outcomes


The Latino-Jewish Leadership Series is a joint effort between the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund (NALEO) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC). In March 1997, 100 Jewish and Hispanic elected officials from the Los Angeles area came together for the first "Leadership Summit" to discuss the challenges associated with building Hispanic-Jewish coalitions. The purpose of the event was to establish contact between leaders in both communities and to establish a network through which problems and issues could be addressed.

Program Operations

After the initial summit, NALEO and the AJC recognized the need for a sustained dialogue between the two communities. The "Leadership Series" was established to foster candid discussion and to build coalitions. The series, with over six different sessions and engaging more than 300 participants, explored opportunities to enhance relationships and to work together on issues of common concern. The series was held at the historic Los Angeles Central Library. The site was chosen because of its importance in the community and its perceived neutrality. The sessions were moderated by Bill Rosendahl, a local television personality. Each session had between 30-50 participants from both communities and focused on issues related to academia, journalism, business, community, labor and elected officials. A neutral moderator and balanced participation allowed individual participants to engage in a free exchange of ideas on issues from their personal perspectives.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

The Leadership Series has built trust and communication between the Hispanic and Jewish communities. The network of relationships created from these meeting has allowed community leaders to effectively address civic issues such as campaigning and voting. Recently, leaders from both communities authored an "op-ed" piece in the Los Angeles Times entitled, "Jews, Latinos Need to Forge Coalition, Not Engage in Conflict."

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