Students from Mexico and U.S. master governance at California LDZ
The 2019 edition of the National Hispanic Institute’s California LDZ, at the University of San Diego, once again brought students from both sides of the border together to share ideas, learn about collaboration — and, in line with this year’s focus for all NHI programs, to learn more about governance.
The legislative body created at the more-than-130-strong event passed one piece of legislation. authored by Ariana Palomo of McKinney High School in McKinney, Texas, which sought to “enact an international diplomacy assembly consisting of Latino leaders.” Palomo said, of her proposal, “I’m so passionate about this, because I think that the ideas of the entire Latino community are what is going to make an ideal future for our community, Being able to build upon the assets that we have in Latino community, and eact change for our community, by ourselves. We are enacting the change that is going to affect us, building upon what we have, developing our skills, and most importantly, creating new legacies in the Latino community, and even building upon the legacies that we already have made.”
Palomo noted, reflecting on her week at USD, “This where I truly understood that the Latino community and the Latino youth is capable of shaping the future. Not only that: We’re already shaping it right now. And now we are creating new legacies, and with these legacies … we’re creating our own future, We are shaping our own future.” She also remarked that she was inspired that so many young leaders convened with a similar vision for the Latino community.
Many other students shared ideas to help shape the future, and got to explore them with their peers during the event.
Ricky Juarez, from St. Anthony Catholic High School in San Antonio, Texas, put forward a proposal allowing young artists or musicians to pursue their dreams and utilize their skills, noting that his own experience as a musician drove his decision. He said his LDZ experience taught him, “How powerful I actually am, and how powerful we all are together. We can really get things done if we come together, and just use our talents and assets to pursue our dreams and pursue our passions.”
Reasoning that “everybody knows someone that has cancer,” Hazel Haynes, the House of Representatives Clerk from Pueblo High School in Tucson, Arizona, made her proposal about cancer awareness. Calling her NHI compatriots a family, she signaled out her colleagues in the House of Representatives for special recognition, lauding their hard work throughout the week.
Anna Brunnick, a Senate member from El Paso High School in El Paso, Texas, professed that her big takeaway from the event was” coming up with your own original ideas that could actually affect something and make a big change . . . just trying to come up with an idea and realizing that your idea could completely change the world. It was really interesting to see that I was capable of it.”
For a number of students at the California LDZ, elections weren’t initially a focus, but became important as they sought to put their stamp on the program while collaborating with others. “Supreme Court Justice sounded pretty cool,” quipped Abraham Guadiano of Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio, Texas, elected Supreme Court Chief Justice. “And just the fact that I be as powerful as Nancy Pelosi was pretty cool. So that attracted me.” Turning more serious, though, he noted that winning the position meant “I’d be making some big decisions regarding our community, and impacting our community in passing these proposals.”
Top elected officials at the California LDZ included Hunter Ybarra of Cypress Woods High School in Cypress, Texas, elected Governor; Annalissa Garcia of Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders in Austin, Texas, elected Lieutenant Governor; and Tania Garcia of Oratory Athenaeum for University Prep in Pharr, Texas, elected Speaker of the House.