(Baltimore, MD) – Maryland Latinos Unidos (MLU) – a recently created program of Maryland Nonprofits (MANO) – is pleased to welcome its first slate of officers effective February 1, 2021. The organization was launched in October 2020.
- Chair: Veronica Cool, Founder & Managing Director, Cool & Associates
- Vice-Chair: Luis Gutierrez, President & CEO at Dream Management, Inc.
- Secretary: Joe Morales, Esq., Managing Attorney of The Morales Law Firm.
- Treasurer: Alberto Grosmark
“I am honored to serve as chair of Maryland Latinos Unidos. COVID-19 has devastated Latino and immigrant communities. Disproportionate infection and morbidity rates can be traced back to deep fissures in the system and the scarcity of access to important services across the state. Despite significant contributions to Maryland’s economic growth and state-wide reliance on their labor, the Latino community lacked basic information and linguistically accessible materials. The COVID-19 crisis and lack of robust services for the Latino community have exposed ongoing systemic injustices, including lack of access to health care, educational support services, and economic assistance – especially those who pay taxes with ITIN numbers to the tune of about $100 million,” said Veronica Cool, Chair of Maryland Latinos Unidos (MLU).
“As community leaders, we felt compelled to respond to this state of emergency, which is why we quickly stood up Maryland Latinos Unidos (MLU). Our collective goal is to shine a bright light on community needs but also on the value of Latinos’ and immigrant contributions to Maryland. In so doing, we ensure that Latinos have the representation they require across the state to not only address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the community, but the historical gaps in the systems that are meant to support them for the well-being of not only Latinos, but the entire state economically and socially,” said Cool.
“Since 2016, the Latino community has been under attack. President Donald Trump’s rhetoric morphed into an aggressive set of actions against immigrants that ranged from separating Latino children from their families, putting them in cages, and forcing Latina women to have unwanted surgeries to prevent them from having children while in ICE custody,” said Luis Gutierrez, Vice-Chair of MLU and President & CEO at Dream Management, Inc.
“The only way to stop those illegal types of activities against our community is to be organized and to unite in defense of basic legal rights. It is why I decided to join efforts with other Maryland Latino leaders to form Latinos Unidos,” said Gutierrez.
“2020 was a very difficult year for all of us. The Latino community has been disproportionately and heavily affected by the pandemic,” said Joe Morales, Esq., MLU Secretary and Managing Attorney of The Morales Law Firm.
“I came to the United States thirty years ago and I feel a need to support our community and give back by joining MLU. Our goal is to help our community by providing resources and coordinating assistance with various organizations throughout Maryland that have a direct impact on the Latino community,” said Morales.
“In the last 10 years, Maryland’s Latino community grew significantly. Due to the presence of scientific development, international financial, and health organizations, highly educated Latino professionals came and successfully integrated into the DMV area, contributing to the development of this region which contains three of the 10 richest counties in the United States,” said Alberto Grosmark, MLU Treasurer.
“That impressive economic growth included the steep development of the construction, hospitality, and adult care sectors supported by the influx of a vast number of Latino immigrants who revitalized many regions of Maryland. None of this growth could have been achieved without the strong work ethic that Latino workers provided. Yet, this community grew without any representation to address their own needs – family health, children’s education, or business support. These trends were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately impacted Latinos across the state, which is why I joined with a group of committed community leaders to create Maryland Latinos Unidos as the central state-wide instrumentation to route and leverage support resources vastly needed to sustain Latino community integration and growth,” said Grosmark.
MLU’s founding Steering Committee members include (in alphabetical order): Pat Arzuaga, Veronica Cool, Elda Devairie, Cesiah Fuentes, Alberto Grosmark, Monica Guerrero-Vazquez, Luis Gutierrez, Joe Morales, Maria Pilar Rodriguez, Inez Stewart, Elizabeth Ysla-Leight. Dr. Gabriela Lemus is the Executive Director of Maryland Latinos Unidos.
ABOUT MARYLAND LATINOS UNIDOS: Maryland Latinos Unidos (MLU) is a statewide network of organizations, businesses, and individuals who support Latino and immigrant communities. We work within and with the Latino/Hispanic community in Maryland by supporting Latino-serving nonprofits, convening around public policy priorities, and working together in common cause.
Maryland Latinos Unidos exists to call attention to the disparities and inequities faced by Latino and immigrant communities, to find solutions, and to address these problems with coordinated action. MLU is not providing direct services – we are prioritizing the capacity-building of our grassroots Hispanic-serving organizations to ensure that all Latinos access necessary services. Maryland Latinos Unidos is a program of Maryland Nonprofits.