NEW WINDSOR - The Latino Democratic Committee of Orange County (LDCOC) held their Tenth Annual Dinner Dance on Saturday, September 21st, at The Meadowbrook in New Windsor, NY.
It was 10 years ago that three individuals, Sonia Ayala, Manny Mangual and William Rios envisioned a political organization that would reach out to the Latino community in Orange County and beyond. The trio has worked hard, with the help of their growing members, elected officials, candidates and their families, to build the organization into what it has become.
"We have accomplished many goals, but there is still work to do," stated LDCOC Chair Sonia Ayala. "We need to work for the passage of immigration reform and make sure that young Dreamers fulfill their educational dreams and aspirations."
A special presentation entitled "A Dreamer’s Perspective" was given by Laura Garcia. She emigrated from Mexico when she was eight. Garcia spoke about the many challenges she has faced, including language barriers, discrimination, and recently the deportation of a family member. Through all of these things, she has been very involved in her community and has always been determined to help others, regardless of her own circumstances.
Now a student at Dutchess Community College, Garcia dreams of finishing her BA at Mount Saint Mary College in History and Political Science. That dream was made possible as she recently became "DACA-mented," a term used to describe the Dream kids, who –through the executive decision of President Barack Obama’s administration – became qualified (after meeting certain criteria) to obtain a work permit and a social security number.
This year, LDCOC honored New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman for his work. Schneiderman, who has taken a leading role in the national fight for a comprehensive investigation of misconduct in the mortgage market and for a fair settlement for homeowners that holds banks accountable for their role in the foreclosure crisis, wants to provide meaningful relief to homeowners and investors and to ensure that abuses of this scale never happen again.
In his 15 minute speech, Schneiderman also praised the Latino Democratic Committee of Orange County.
"A true believer in the American system of justice," Schneiderman said the way things have been moving, backwards, is not the American way of doing things. He challenged those gathered to get more involved and help the LDCOC move things in the right direction.
"I’m in the equal justice for all business," Schneiderman said. To that end he wants to make sure that everyone gets a fair shot. That everyone can register to vote, that everyone can vote for the candidate of their choice. He vowed to continue to challenge voter suppression.
"Any law that makes it easier for people to register and vote is a good law," he concluded.