July 13, 2017 — Washington, D.C.
Members of the Latino-Jewish Leadership Council (LJLC) gathered for two days of advocacy meetings in the nation’s capital.
LJLC, convened by AJC, is comprised of more than 35 prominent figures in the Latino and Jewish communities across the U.S. The Council, launched in March, aims to further strengthen Latino-Jewish cooperation in advocating for issues of shared concern and values cherished by both communities. Many members of the bipartisan group have held important positions in both Democratic and Republican administrations.
"Since the Council’s founding, developments at the national, hemispheric and global levels have underscored the vital importance of its work,” said Dina Siegel Vann, director of AJC’s Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA) and a LJLC founding member. “We need to continue consulting together and speaking out jointly to ensure that the basic values and principles that have made this country what it is are protected and continue to be promoted for the benefit of every U.S. citizen and the world at-large.”
Tom Wheeler, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice, and Ambassador Kevin K. Sullivan, interim U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), addressed the Council over dinner marking the start of the series of advocacy meetings.
In meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, at the White House with advisors to President Trump and Vice President Pence, and with Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security officials, as well as with members of Congress, the Council’s positions on its three priorities were presented and discussed. Those priorities are foreign policy, particularly the strengthening of U.S.-Latin America-Israel relations and a focus on regional flashpoints such as Venezuela; concern over the increase of anti-Latino rhetoric, anti-Semitism and hate crimes; and the pending and urgent assignment of commonsense solutions to our nation’s broken immigration system, which take into consideration both domestic and regional implications.
AJC has long been committed to deepening Latino-Jewish understanding and cooperation. The LJLC expands upon groundbreaking initiatives that have included helping launch the bipartisan Latino-Jewish Congressional Caucus in 2011, and hosting in 2013 a National Conversation on the State of Latino-Jewish Relations in Washington, D.C., attended by 100 high-level leaders from both communities. Most LJLC members have participated in these and other BILLA initiatives.