Harckham Holds Hispanic Roundtable

New York State Senator Pete Harckham held a roundtable recently in Peekskill, bringing together Hispanic leaders to discuss the crucial issues of concern in their community.

“It was important to meet with the leaders of the Latino community to learn first-hand of the challenges that they and other members of the community face each day,” said Harckham. “We need to hear from members of historically marginalized communities and partner with them to create a more equitable and just society.”

The discussion included the problems Latinos face with language barriers, housing, low income, representation in the criminal justice system, health care and education.

Harckham said that this is an ongoing dialogue, and he expects to schedule more such roundtable discussions at different locations in the 40th Senate District.

“Senator Harkham is listening to us and giving us a seat at the table,” said Andres Castillo, Bedford Town Board Member. “He is ensuring that legislation is reflective of our Latino community. We are thankful for his help.”

“It was wonderful to experience meeting so many Latin leaders to discuss how we can make our community stronger for generations to come,” said Lissette Fernandez, Peekskill City Court Judge.

“This was an enriching and fulfilling experience,” said Yanira Martinez, a Senior at Peekskill High School and a member of the Latino Culture Club. “There are so many things going on that I did not know about and that will help me give back to my community,”

Hispanics officially comprise 26 percent of the population in Harckham’s 40th Senate District, but that number may be undercounted.

In addition to Castillo, Fernandez and Martinez, the other participants in the round table were: Shirley Acevedo, founder of Latino U College Access; Luisa Granda-Rodriguez, Neighbors Link Director of Operations and Community Engagement; Norma Pereira-Gross, Putnam County community leader; Ramon Fernandez, Peekskill City Councilmember; Jose Ayavaca, Peekskill High School Latino Culture Club member; Karine Patiño, attorney and Mount Kisco community leader; Amy Vele, Peekskill School District Board Member; Mariella Ramirez, Putnam County community leader; and Bruno Villazhiñay, Bedford community leader.

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