One of the various events COPAL has scheduled for 2019 to continue building our communal power happened last Saturday, March 23, in collaboration with MCLA (Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs), LEDC (Latino Economic Development Center) and Centro Tyrone Guzman, hosted a Cabildo Abierto with Governor Tim Walz & Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. The Cabildo Abierto is a Latin American political action where convening citizens can discuss important issues. It is comparable to the North American town hall meeting.
To the music of latinx group Alma Andina, and tamales served by La Loma, 80+ community members of all ages, sex and background checked into the Cabildo Abierto hosted at Centro Guzman. The morning started with a swearing-in ceremony officiated by Governor Walz for all new members of NAHREP's Twin Cities chapter. Following the ceremony, Roxana Linares, Rosa Tock and Francisco Segovia – from Centro Guzman, MCLA and COPAL respectively – introduced the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, beginning a 90-minute conversation about community matters.
This portion of event included a structured conversation to discuss the “Budget for One Minnesota” for the next fiscal biennium – 2020-2021 – and the issues impacting the Latinx community on areas of Economic Development, Health, and Education. A second portion of the event was a non-structured conversation where people had the opportunity to ask questions.
Among the issues raised was the imminent end of an immigration program for Liberians in U.S., and undocumented immigrant’s access to Driver’s Licenses in Minnesota. On the latter, Governor Walz reinstated his support and said: “we are one hundred percent with you on this issue.” The governor vouched to look at the issue of Driver’s Licenses For All differently from how other have in the past – referring to the times where the bill failed to pass even when the Minnesota DFL held a majority in both the State House and Senate – and said he needs to use some strategy and leverage to figure out how to get this done. Governor Walz closed his arguments to the community by saying that we have his commitment because “this is not a game, this is your life.”