California Secretary of State Keynote Highlights Latino Education and Advocacy Days Summit X

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Alex Padilla, California’s Secretary of State, will be the morning keynote speaker when the Latino Education and Advocacy Days convenes its 10th summit on March 28 at Cal State San Bernardino.

With the theme “¡Su Voto Es Su Voz!” Everyone Counts, the free conference brings together teaching professionals and educators, researchers, academics, scholars, administrators, independent writers and artists, policy and program specialists, students, parents, civic leaders, activists and advocates – all sharing a common interest and commitment to education issues that impact Latinos to help them define the future.

Registration, which is free, is open until March 20 and may be done online at the LEAD Summit X website at LEAD Summit X will take place from 8 a.m. to about 4 p.m. at the university’s Santos Manuel Student Union.

The impact of the LEAD Summit has been broad over its 10 years. The California Assembly, since 2010, has declared the last week of March every year as a statewide week of advocacy for Latino education. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Latino Legislative Caucus, in letters to LEAD, have also lent their support by encouraging participation in the summit.

The summit, which averages 1,300 attendees annually – plus thousands more online via Town Hall viewing sites around the world – will feature panel discussions on topics that include voter registration, civic engagement and the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census. The summit is the highlight of LEAD Week, which runs March 25-30.

Padilla, who was sworn in as Secretary of State in January 2015, will speak at 10 a.m. Prior to being elected to his current post, he served as a state senator from 2006-14 and chaired the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications, shepherding legislation to combat climate change and create a greener and sustainable economy. Padilla grew up in the San Fernando Valley community of Pacoima, the son of immigrants from Mexico.

After attending public schools, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Often asked about the transition from engineering to public service, Padilla explains that both are similar – the goal is to solve problems.

The afternoon keynote address at 1:25 p.m. will feature Maria del Rosario “Rosie” Castro, a Mexican-American civil rights activist and educator from San Antonio, Texas. She has been active in groups such as the Young Democrats of America, the Mexican American Youth Organization, the Committee for Barrio Betterment, and the Raza Unida Party.

She is the mother of Julian Castro, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration and a declared candidate for president in 2020, and Joaquín Castro, currently representing the San Antonio, Texas region in Congress.

In keeping with the theme, “¡Su Voto Es Su Voz!” Everyone Counts, LEAD Summit X’s honorary co-chairs, or the madrina de honorand padrino de honor, are Concepción “Concha” Rivera and José Angel Gutiérrez.

Rivera, selected as the 2019 Woman of the Year by Assemblymember Jose Medina, D-Riverside, has been active in the community for many years. The wife of the late Tomás Rivera, a Chicano author and educator who served as chancellor of UC Riverside from 1979-84, the first Latino to hold the post in the University of California system, Concha Rivera served as acting director of the California Museum of Photography, shepherding its move from UCR to downtown Riverside, and served for 12 years as its director of development.

She has served in numerous boards, such as the Riverside Art Museum, The Riverside Community Foundation, is the founder of the Tomás Rivera conference, and the founder of Primavera in the Gardens at UCR. Rivera, who emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico at the age of 20 with her family, holds degrees in interior design as well as AA degrees in business and fundraising from Loyola University.

Gutiérrez, recently named the recipient of the prestigious 2019 Hispanic Hero Award, stands out as one of the most important and influential leaders of the Chicano movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, along with Cesar Chavez, Reies López Tijerina and Corky Gonzales. He was a founding member of the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) in 1967, one of the first student activist groups of the Chicano movement. He also was a founding member and past president of the political third-party La Raza Unida Party, which challenged the Democratic and Republican parties to court overlooked Mexican-American and Latino voters.

He has been the subject of many articles and film documentaries, including the PBS video series, “CHICANO! The Mexican American Struggle for Civil Rights,” and is mentioned in many Chicano history and political science books. He was also featured as an “Innovator” in the PBS documentary series “School: The Story of American Public Education.” More recently. Gutiérrez was featured in a segment of: “Prejudice and Pride: the Chicano Movement,” which was part of the PBS series, “Latino Americans.”

LEAD Week 2019programs include:

  • IE Ethnic Studies II, Tuesday, March 26, in the Fourplex meeting rooms at the Cal State San Bernardino Santos Manuel Student Union;
  • Puente Student Leadership Forum IV, Wednesday, March 27, at the DoubleTree Hotel in San Bernardino; and the
  • Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Breakfast VIII, 8 a.m. Saturday, March 30, CSUSB Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center.

LEAD serves as a primary site for a set of innovative and productive programs, publications and events for Latinos and education. These projects involve significant participation of faculty, students and administrators, as well as partnerships in the region and nationally.

The projects also create strong interactive connections with Latino networks in the U.S., as well as Latin Americans and Indigenous Peoples throughout the Americas and the world, many whom are already in contact with LEAD personnel and the university.

For more information and to register online for the conference, visit the LEAD Summit website at, or call (909) 537-7632.

For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit

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