Public meeting set to discuss third "State of the State for Washington Latinos"

WALLA WALLA, Wash.— A public meeting on “Political Mobilization and Voting Rights among Latinos in Washington State,” the third in a series of reports written by Whitman students on “The State of the State for Washington Latinos,”will be held Thursday, May 1, on the Whitman College campus.

A seminar class at Whitman College, under the direction of Paul Apostolidis, professor of politics, and Gilbert Mireles, assistant professor of sociology, has conducted new research to add to the considerable information gathered on the lives of Latinos living in Washington by students in 2005 and 2006. Beginning at 7 p.m. in Olin Hall 130, students will discuss this year’s research topics, which focused specifically on voting and political mobilization.

“’The State of the State for Washington Latinos’ continues to be the only broadly inclusive report on social and political conditions for Latinos in Washington, where the Hispanic population has been rapidly rising while inequalities remain multiple and serious,” said Apostolidis. The reports have garnered the attention of state politicians, Latino activists and various city councils around the state. The research conducted by Ian Warner ’07 on voting rights in Sunnyside, Washington, catalyzed local debate about the issue and gained the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice, which looked into Warner’s findings that the city’s election process was in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

This election year, the class conducted research in eight Washington communities: Walla Walla, Pasco, Toppenish, Granger, Wapato, Quincy, Othello, and Yakima. Students have conducted their research in partnership with the League of United Latin American Citizens, the nation’s oldest Latino civic organization, and with community partners from around the state.

In attendance at the public meeting May 1 will be a representative from Gov. Gregoire's office; the executive director of the Washington state chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens; the director of the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs; and the president of the Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.

Specific research topics to be discussed will be:

  • Overcoming Obstacles to Latino Mobilization in Walla Walla, Washington;
  • The Role of Electoral Politics and Latino Mobilization Strategies in Granger and Toppenish, Washington;
  • Latino Political Representation in the Toppenish, Wapato, and Granger School Districts: The Case for Change;
  • The Invisible Latino: A Study of the Electoral Politics of Walla Walla;
  • The Political Representation of Latinos in Small Cities: An Examination of Latino Representation in Quincy, and Othello, Washington;
  • Latino Political Participation and Civic Engagement through Mobilization Efforts in Pasco, Washington;
  • Breaking the Cycle of Political Non-Participation: The Effect of Community Involvement and Civic Education on Latino Families;
  • Political Mobilization through the Use of Bilingual Media in Yakima;
  • The Latino Electoral Experience in a Small City: Twenty Years of Latino Nonsuccess in City Council Elections in Pasco, Washington.

A question-and-answer and public discussion will follow.

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CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156

parishlj@whitman.edu