At NAHREP, we divide our time in terms of conferences. Familia gatherings at the National Convention & Housing Policy Summit and NAHREP at L’ATTITUDE are two annual milestones for the policy department because they each mark the release of our reports, the State of Hispanic Homeownership Report and the State of Hispanic Wealth Report. But, I also think of them as phases. The time right after each conference before we start writing our next report is when most of the major changes and initiatives for the advocacy wing of our organization get developed.
It’s State of Hispanic Wealth Report time!!! Every year, the Hispanic Wealth Project releases the State of Hispanic Wealth Report at NAHREP at L’ATTITUDE. This is the time of year when I try to clear my calendar and hunker down to write this thing. While I’m in the thick of analyzing the new data, I wanted to give you all a preview of what will be released next month. But first, let’s do a recap of the Hispanic Wealth Project.
It was so so wonderful to see many of you in Newport Beach, CA last week for our second regional event. It was so energizing to gather and see all of your beautiful faces. One of my favorite parts of these regional events is discussing the critical policy issues impacting our industry and how we at NAHREP can be the agents for change. I’ve also been meeting up with our National Advocacy Committee (NAC) members after the event so we can work together across chapters with a common voice. Every time we do these I am reminded of how much power we can yield as an organization if we play our cards right.
I like to think of the NAHREP National Advocacy Committee (NAC) as an organization within the larger NAHREP organization. For those of you who care about making a difference for Latinos, and care about policy, there is a home for you within NAHREP and I have every intention of working with all of you to make NAHREP the most powerful Latino organization in the country. The NAC, like most of NAHREP, is made up mostly of volunteers – passionate individuals who want to work together, learn together, and grow our voice together. On the national staff we have a small but mighty group of people who are dedicated full time to supporting these efforts. The team consists of two rock stars, Jaime Smeraski and Dustin Robinson, as well as myself. But there’s another group that is critical to our efforts: our lobbyists.
Hi. My name is Noerena, some call me Noe. Mi familia es Mexicana and my parents immigrated to this country in the 70s and 80s. They, like the majority of people who came to the U.S., came to this country in search of opportunity. The immigrant story and the plight for immigration reform has been a driving force in my life. However, as a Latina-American, I care just as much about justice and freedom for my Cuban brothers and sisters marching on the streets of Havana right now as I care about my Texan DACA recipients (many who are part of our NAHREP familia) who have been told by the state government that DACA is illegal. El pueblo Latino is one.
After a year and a half of working from home, I finally saw many of you in Miami this week for our Southeast Regional Event. I almost can’t believe I got to hug, break bread, dance, and simply get inspired by each other’s energy and love for our beautiful Latino community. There truly is nothing like being able to feel the power of NAHREP energy in person. I’m so pumped for everything we’re about to accomplish.
It’s time for another wonky policy term of the week explained. If any of you want to understand what in the world is happening right now in Congress with this infrastructure bill that seems to be moving at tortuga speed, let’s try to define another term the politico types throw around like pizza dough: reconciliation. What the heck is reconciliation? No, its not what happens with your significant other after she/he/they pissed you off and then cooked you your favorite meal to lure you through your stomach. In this case, it’s a tool used in Congress to get tough things passed.
Infrastructure. This term has been thrown around a lot. This is all that Congress is talking about, all that President Biden is talking about, and quite frankly, a lot of what we’ve been focused on this year as the National Advocacy Committee. But what is infrastructure? We usually think of bridges, roads, and transportation when we think of infrastructure, public projects that get us from one place to another. By this definition, broadband and internet are definitely infrastructure – as that is the way we travel (zoom meetings!) and communicate in today’s world.
Who saw In the Heights? If you haven’t, que carajos esperan? Listen up, if we want representation in Hollywood, and we want to change the narrative about Latinos, showing up at the box office when we’re on the main screen is the least we can do. Lin Manuel Miranda shared our stories, one of familia, comunidad, and powerful sueñitos that keep us alive and hungry (in a good way). “Start small, dream big.” Isn’t that how we all got started? Seeing those choreographed scenes of beautiful Latino faces dancing to the vibrant beat of our music, filled my heart in a way few things have during this past year.
Raise your hand if you hear people talk policy and you zone out mostly because they keep using strange words that you don’t understand? I spent over a decade in Washington D.C., a town where people talk in acronyms. Before NAHREP, I spent 6 years working at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), where it was seen as perfectly normal to say something like, “Since the HMDA working group finalized the ANPRM, there’s an OPM meeting at the EEOB to discuss collaboration between FHFA and the CFPB. Make sure you bring the RESPA proposal!” Como dice mi mama, “Apenas se puede creer!”