New Beginnings: Hispanic / Latino Advisory Board Debuts As Leaders
It’s been a long journey from his humble beginnings as a boy in Puerto Rico, but Huntsville resident Edwin NÃºÃ±ez thinks he’s where he needs to be.
Elected as the new president of the Hispanic / Latino Advisory Council (HLAC), NÃºÃ±ez 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, NÃºÃ±ez said it was essential to embrace these groups and their unique skills and experiences.
âWe want people with all of these influences to be able to enrich our culture here,â he said. âAt 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.
HLAC was formed to open dialogue and communication between the Hispanic / Latino community and the City of Huntsville. The group values ââinclusion and seeks to improve race relations by promoting cooperation, peace and equality.
The Hispano-Latino Advisory Board is currently chaired by NÃºÃ±ez, 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 ââHall.
“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, âshe said.
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.
âAs Huntsville grows, we make sure we have that diversity,â said Ruelas. âBy highlighting organizations like ours, it’s a way to show that there is diversity here.
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.
âOur engagement is only deepening now with the transition to the new Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,â he said. “Together we can do great things.”
To learn more about HLAC, visit their Facebook page.