U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), U.S. Representative Jim Himes (CT-4) and U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), in partnership with U.S. Representatives John Larson (CT-1) and Joe Courtney (CT-2) and the Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus (CHDC) on Friday announced the second Latino Leadership Academy. Participants in the Leadership Academy will learn about government and the advocacy process during training sessions in Connecticut followed by a trip to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Training sessions will focus on public policy, grassroots advocacy, campaigning, social media, and issues impacting Latino families. The first session will be held on Saturday, January 13 from 9am-12pm at the Meriden Library, 105 Miller Street, Meriden, CT.

   Murphy and CHDC launched the Leadership Academy in fall 2016 and trained eighteen emerging community leaders from across Connecticut.

   “We have so many passionate advocates from Connecticut’s growing Latino community. This year in particular, so much is at stake. We’re excited that the Latino Leadership Academy will help provide these advocates with the tools and support they need to make a difference,” said Murphy. “Our first Latino Leadership Academy was a great success, and we are excited to work with the next group of emerging leaders.”

   “Our Academy’s goal of developing diverse citizen advocacy is more important today than ever. I am proud to help lead this second Latino Leadership Academy to empower grassroots advocates to become strong community leaders.  Building on the accomplishments of our first Academy, this one should provide even stronger opportunities for leadership skills and policy expertise,” said Blumenthal.

   Himes said, “Effecting change requires energy and organization. In my experience, there is no end to the energy in the Latino community in Connecticut, which has been leading and fighting for important causes for generations. The Latino Leadership Academy will help harness that energy and sharpen and improve the advocacy skills that are necessary to succeed.”

   I’m excited to work with this group of rising Latino leaders in Connecticut, and to share my experiences as they seek to more effectively serve their communities,” Esty said. “We do better as a country when we invite everyone to the table and encourage more people to contribute to democracy. That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about participating in the Latino Leadership Academy again this year – it’s a chance for me to learn from these emerging leaders as well as to share my own experience with them.  Together I know that we can and will build stronger communities for us all.”

   “We wish to thank Senators Murphy and Blumenthal and the entire CT delegation for having the vision and willingness to utilize their positions to open doors and prepare individuals from a community that has given so much in defending this great nation. This partnership with the Academy and the Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus will assist in fulfilling part of our mission of increasing democracy by creating a bench of qualified individuals willing to run for local, state elected legislative positions, and preparing them for possible appointments to boards and commissions an area which needs to be addressed,” said Norma Rodriguez-Reyes, Chair of the Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus.

   The following seventeen participants were selected to attend the Leadership Academy in a competitive application process. Applicants were chosen based on merit, and preference went to applicants without any formal political experience. The group was selected with age, gender, and geographical diversity in mind.

Janet Gomes, Bridgeport

Fabio Mazo, Bridgeport

Lisette Valle, Bridgeport

Luis Delgado, Hartford

Katie Bonilla, Manchester

Candita Lopez, Manchester

Marta Persia, Meriden

Angela Peralta, New London

Ashley Lauren Arriaga, North Franklin

Tiffany Fernandez, North Haven

Miriam Matos, Stamford

MaLisa Blasini, Waterbury

Raul Erazo, Waterbury

Milagros Acosta, West Hartford

Leonora Rodriguez, West Haven

Shamila Santini, Willimantic

Sacha Gomez, Windham