Inspiring the Next Generation, The Latino Leaders Network’s Cafecito Series

Cafecito Series Latino Leaders Network BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesies: (left to right) Judge Hidalgo/ Texas Tribune, Mickey Ibarra/Houston Media Public Media, Julian Castro/NBC News, Maria Elena Salinas/ The Dialogue

The Latino Leaders Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing leaders together, hosted their digital event, the Cafecito Series, on May 5th. 

According to the organization, the Cafecito Series is a digital platform aimed to educate, inspire, and prepare the next generation of leaders through the stories of iconic Latino leaders. Its core is to align with the Latino and Afro-Latino communities to steer them in a direction where brilliance and success radiate from all over. 

“We are celebrating 17 years of bringing leaders together since 2004,” Mickey Ibarra, chairman of the Latino Leaders Network, said during the event. 

Hosted by the chairman of Latino Leaders Network, Mickey Ibarra, and moderated by Maria Elena Salinas, CBS News contributor, the Cafecito Series empowering event honored Judge Lina Hidalgo, Harris County’s Judge, who was a panelist alongside Julián Castro, Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Texas State Senator, Carol Alvarado, was also included as the honoree testimonial. 

Judge Lina Hidalgo received the Rising Star Award, which is intended to recognize an emerging leader in the Latinx community. 

Staying true to their focus, the topics were charged with thought-provoking themes, which further drives the inspiration needed for our future leaders. 

Award-winning journalist, Maria Elena Salinas, didn’t shy away from topics important to the community, like asking Judge Hidalgo what it meant to represent a county that historically didn’t choose Latinas (or any woman for that matter) for office.

“I hope in some ways it is an example [to others],” Judge Hidalgo said. “Examples make a difference. One of the reasons I ran is because I met some young elected officials. That made me see that it could be done.” 

Salinas also asked about the skepticism in the Latino community concerning the COVID-19 vaccine. She inquired about closing the many gaps in the system that can sway the Latinx community away from the vaccination. 

Castro stated that the misinformation is the culprit of the situation. 

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there right now, particularly in the Latino communication,” he said. “We need to make sure that we are getting the right information out. Also, let the community know that the information won’t be used other than for the vaccine.”

Events such as the Cafecito Series continue to solidify the power the Latino community has on all industries. Though we’ve always belonged, we belong now more than ever. It is time we all understand that and strive towards becoming the best version of ourselves. Not just for us, but the community — la raza. 

If you missed the Cafecito Series, you can view the recording of it on the BELatina News Facebook page. 

BELatina News was a media partner of the Cafecito Series.