NCLR Conference: Senator Warren Speaks on National Level; MEDA’s Granados Speaks on Local Level

Elizabeth WarrenIt’s a long way from working-class roots as the daughter of a maintenance man in Oklahoma City to becoming a Harvard Law School professor and now a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts who is beloved by progressives. Elizabeth Warren’s success story is laudable, plus her championing the message of economic prosperity for all Americans is welcomed in a country with an ever-widening income gap.

National Level
Warren brought her powerful message to the “State of the Economy” town hall crowd gathered for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) the weekend before last at the Los Angeles Convention Center. NCLR is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

Warren explained how asset building is imperative for all financially challenged communities, including Latinos, who are often immigrants. She stressed the need for federal policies designed to help low-income families access financial services.

Warren is deemed an authority on consumer issues and struggles.

The Senator has spoken on similar themes in the past. She once explained her vision for the United States as follows: “Americans are fighters. We’re tough, resourceful and creative, and if we have the chance to fight on a level playing field, where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot, then no one can stop us.”

Local Level
MEDA’s Executive Director, Luis Granados, echoed Senator Warren’s points, stressing to the audience the fact that the Latino community is very hard-working and persistent, looking for opportunities to strengthen their family’s economic standing. He then underscored to those in the conference room that their role is instrumental in ensuring this occurs by prioritizing asset building with their clients.

This is done locally at MEDA, with financially challenged Latinos in San Francisco being offered free asset-building services at Plaza Adelante, the Mission neighborhood center. Almost 5,100 clients were offered such services in 2013, from workforce development and financial capability to business development and homeownership.

1. Luis GranadosGranados explained that there are already strong connections—via health, education, housing, early learning and other such programs—that can be leveraged to improve family financial standing.

The Executive Director then outlined a quartet of key indicators that will lead to improved health, household incomes and academic achievement for Latino communities:

  • Improving credit
  • Reducing debt
  • Increasing savings
  • Enhancing income

Granados summed up the import of a service integration model as follows: “The explicit integration of family success into other community development services is key.”

The successful conference now concluded, the message of asset building for Latinos is in place, on a national and local level. Both Senator Warren and Luis Granados strongly put forth this vital message. It is time for action.