They are this Latino based networking/community group with their finger on the pulse of Chester County. It is not just Latinos, but it is also truly multi-cultural. Latino Luncheon is as per one member “open to all Latinos and those who love them.”
I have had many Latino friends over the years and met some fabulous Latina community activists when part of Save Ardmore Coalition and we were fighting eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore and elsewhere. Mary Cortes of Cramer Hill Camden and the late Rosemary Cubas of Philadelphia come to mind in particular. (I also have a Cuban Uncle, although I do not recall ever seeing much of his Latino side save for his fondness for Café Bustelo.)
Anyway, this collective holds a monthly luncheon at Iron Hill in West Chester and you can sign up via their Meet Up page. They raise awareness for issues affecting the community and even give out some scholarships – in other words they do good deeds and enjoy each other’s company. I can’t tell you how nice it was to be in a room of positive people who celebrate each other.
I was introduced to the group by Maureen Martinez. Maureen is on the Planning Commission in East Whiteland and running for Supervisor. Maureen’s husband is Cuban, so she is very keen on the issues facing Latinos in Chester County and elsewhere.
Andy Dinniman presented a proclamation and remarked that the Latino community is becoming a force to be reckoned with in Chester County.
Dinniman also discussed a version of American Dream Act is coming to PA and both political parties support it. Bi-Partisan – anyone graduating from a PA high school will be eligible for in state tuition costs.
And they presented a scholarship check to an amazing young woman named Elenie Gonzalez.
I also met a woman named Joyce Chester who is president of a non-profit called Chester County OIC. From their website what this non-profit does is:
Chester County OIC is a non-profit organization with offices in West Chester and Phoenixville dedicated to providing FREE adult basic literacy education and life skills programs that prepare individuals for employment leading to economic self-sufficiency. In operation since 1979, CCOIC helps over 800 adult learners per year.
I had never met PA State Representative Duane Milne before and thoroughly enjoyed it. I always enjoy seeing PA State Senator Andy Dinniman and we chatted Chester County SPCA and other things.
But I have to tell you I was nervous going to a luncheon where I only knew a couple of people and now I look forward to going to another one. It has been a very long time since I met such a caring and welcoming bunch of people who had some amazing careers and were completely without pretense or artifice. They care because it is simply the right thing to do. We could all take a page out of their book.
Next time I will bring a grown-up camera to get some really great shots for these nice people!
Also a shout out is in order to Iron Hill Brewery – I love that they host these community endeavors so graciously and nicely!