Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | 4:01 p.m.
Vice President Joe Biden will be the keynote speaker for the National Council of La Raza annual conference, which will be staged in Las Vegas for the first time July 7-10, the national Latino advocacy group announced Tuesday.
"Choosing Nevada as the home for this year’s conference is a natural fit given the state’s growing Latino population and electorate," Janet Murguía, National Council of La Raza president and CEO, said in a statement. "This is a tremendous opportunity for Latinos from across the country to come together and learn about current and newly emerging issues facing our community at the local, state and national levels."
The conference, which will also include speeches from financial adviser Suze Orman, television producer Nely Galan, author Sandra Cisneros and actors Tony Plana and Wilson Cruz, will take place at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan and Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto also are scheduled to attend.
The organization said the 2012 conference would be one the largest in history, with more than 50 workshops, four townhalls and entertainment in the evenings. Issues such as education, health, workforce development, youth leadership and nonprofit management will be addressed during the four-day program.
Also at Mandalay Bay, the National Latino Family Expo, a free family fair for the public, will run from July 7 to July 9 and feature free health services, games, prizes, live entertainment and product samples and demonstrations from more than 200 exhibitors.
"We encourage families of Southern Nevada and throughout the region to take part in this three-day expo full of free services, entertainment and critical information," Ron Estrada, National Council of La Raza vice president, said in a statement. "Understanding that too many members of our community are uninsured or underinsured, we can’t stress enough how much families can benefit from free vision, cholesterol, blood pressure and HIV screenings."
The National Council of La Raza is a Latino civil rights and advocacy organization with roots dating to the 1960s. It officially became a national organization in 1972. Though Latinos are a quarter of Nevada’s population and third of the population in Clark County, this is the first time La Raza has brought its conference to the area.