New Beginnings: Hispanic / Latino Advisory Board Debuts As Leaders

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It’s been a long journey from his humble beginnings as a boy in Puerto Rico, but Huntsville resident Edwin Núñez thinks he’s where he needs to be.

(Left to right) Hispanic / Latino Advisory Council (HLAC) Former President Ramon Santiago, Co-Chair Briseida Ruelas, President Edward Núñez, Secretary Maria Cristina Konsonlas, Director of ODEI Kenny Anderson and Mayor of Huntsville Tommy Battle.

Elected as the new president of the Hispanic / Latino Advisory Council (HLAC), Núñez is eager to bring his experience and love for Hispanic culture to the Huntsville community.

Recent census data shows skyrocketing population growth in Huntsville. As the local Hispanic population grows, Núñez said it was essential to embrace these groups and their unique skills and experiences.

“We want people with all of these influences to be able to enrich our culture here,” he said. “At the bottom of everything, there is not only the progress of our youth but also mutual understanding. The goodwill that generates is what we are looking for.

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HLAC was formed to open dialogue and communication between the Hispanic / Latino community and the City of Huntsville. The group values ​​inclusion and seeks to improve race relations by promoting cooperation, peace and equality.

The Hispano-Latino Advisory Board is currently chaired by Núñez, a retired senior scientist from COLSA Corporation who replaces outgoing president Ramon Santiago. Briseida Ruelas, Accounting Director for Oral Arts Dental Laboratories, was recently elected Co-Chair.

Maria Cristina Konsonlas, originally from Colombia and arriving in Huntsville 15 years ago as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), is the secretary of the group, which meets every two months at the city ​​Hall.

“I am absolutely honored to be a part of HLAC and very excited to continue to support Hispanic families so that they can better understand the school system and what they offer including early intervention and others. child support services offered by the city, ”she said.

The diversity

Ruelas, who was previously president of the Alabama Hispanic Association, hopes to use her new role to improve communication with the Hispanic community. She also plans to partner with other organizations to organize more cultural events for the Hispanic population.

“As Huntsville grows, we make sure we have that diversity,” said Ruelas. “By highlighting organizations like ours, it’s a way to show that there is diversity here.

2 men talking

Mayor Tommy Battle, left, chats with former Hispanic / Latino Advisory Council chairman Ramon Santiago.

HLAC works in close collaboration with Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI), which was previously the Office of Multicultural Affairs. ODEI Director Kenny Anderson helped introduce the new HLAC operatives at a town hall meeting Wednesday night.

Anderson, whose office works to make Huntsville a fairer and more equitable place, looks forward to strengthening the city’s partnership with HLAC.

“Our engagement is only deepening now with the transition to the new Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” he said. “Together we can do great things.”

To learn more about HLAC, visit their Facebook page.


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