12:15 PM

Houston Hispanic Leadership Initiative Hosts 2nd Annual Symposium

On Saturday, June 25, more than 80 people attended the Houston Hispanic Leadership Initiative (HHLI) 2nd annual symposium at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD). Organized and led by members of the initial HHLI leadership cohort, the symposium focused on using social media to reach millennials regarding issues relating to the Houston Hispanic community.

The conference kicked off with a warm welcome by Yolanda Rios, assistant principal, Pasadena ISD. Cynthia Cisneros, vice president for community affairs, ABC 13 KTRK-TV, gave the keynote address.

The symposium included a panel discussion with noted social media professionals and community influencers Karen Yesenia Martinex, Antonio Arellano and Liana Lopez. Panelists spoke about the power of social media and personal interaction in contemporary professional life. Participants later engaged in social media workshops where they developed and produced videos about topics ranging from community engagement to education and finance, which were shared live on the HHLI Facebook page, Twitter and other social media channels.

In addition to Rios and Martinex, members of the HHLI cohort consisted of Carlos Duarte and Mario Salinas from Mi Familia Vota; David Needle from Collaborate Architects; UHD alumna Wendy Ramirez from Casa Juan Diego; Matt Rosas from Pasadena ISD; attorney Frances Valdez; UHD alumnus Ivan Sanchez from the office of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee; and banker Veronica Martinez of Hancock and Whitney .

The program was led by UHD faculty Viola Garcia, Ph.D., professor of urban education; Paul Mandell, Ph.D., assistant professor of arts and humanities; and Gene Preuss, Ph.D., associate professor of history.

The mission of HLLI is to educate and engage. Their activities focus on issues and conditions that affect the Hispanic community of the Greater Houston Metropolitan area, the state and the region, specifically relating to citizenship, economic opportunity, education and quality of life.