LANSING — State Reps. Alex Garza (D-Taylor), Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown), Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw) and state Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) hosted the inaugural Michigan Latino Legislative Day at the state Capitol yesterday on behalf of the Latino Legislative Caucus. Held during Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 each year, the event drew over 100 attendees eager to engage with their state government.

“Latinos have always been incredibly important to Michigan’s success, contributing in a variety of roles across different industries,” said Garza, chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus. “With this event, we recognize those valuable contributions, and encourage members of the Hispanic community to come and meet with their legislators and actively engage in the policy process.”

“We didn’t see the first Latino state legislator in Michigan until 1998, and only thirteen of us have served since then,” said Camilleri. “We want to see a lot more representation for Michigan’s vibrant, growing Latino community in the years ahead, and this day was a great reminder of all the incredible things we can do when we come together and organize.”

Members of the caucus were also joined by special guests Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Attorney General Dana Nessel and State Board of Education member Lupe Ramos-Montigny.

“From the time this country was founded, Latinx-Americans have taken leadership roles in actively fighting for a better, fairer world,” said Geiss. “And that has continued to this day — our diaspora is large and diverse, we are all over this state, at this very moment, leading the charge in changing our communities and state for the better. This Latino Legislative Advocacy Day is an opportunity for all to get together in Lansing, meet with like-minded individuals, and learn about what more they can do.”

“Latinos have always been involved in efforts to improve their country, and recently have made great strides in terms of representation in their government,” said Guerra. “But the work doesn’t stop there – we must continue working with colleagues and local leaders to ensure our voices are heard.”