LUDSPRINGFIELD – Members of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus were joined by advocates, Latino professionals, community groups and nonprofit organizations to celebrate the annual Latino Unity Day at the State Capitol Wednesday.

“Today, not only do we foster inclusivity, promote social justice, and strengthen our place in society but we also celebrate our rich diversity, history, and achievements,” said State Senator Celina Villanueva (D- Chicago). “With Latino Unity Day, we are able to further amplify our visibility, voices, and influence in shaping policies, programs, and initiatives that address our needs and priorities.”

The two-day event featured Latino leaders engaging in forums covering topics crucial to the community, ranging from education to health care and financial literacy. With this year’s theme of “Driving Progress for Illinois,” the event spotlighted ongoing efforts to promote equity and create a better Illinois for all residents.

“As the granddaughter of a Puerto Rican immigrant who fought for Latinos in my community to have equal rights, I am honored to serve my community as a state senator, and not only fight for Latinos, but set an example for young Latinas that they can make a difference,” said State Senator Natalie Toro (D-Chicago). “I look forward to continuing the dialogue with advocates and community members about our shared passion for empowering Latinos across our state.”

Additionally, the event provided hundreds of attendees with the opportunity to meet with their Senators to address concerns. Latino Unity Day culminated with a rally Wednesday afternoon with Latino Caucus officials, alongside advocates.

“This day is a great example of what we can do collectively when diversity is our strength and our unity is our power,” said State Senator Javier Loera Cervantes (D-Chicago). “We can successfully advocate for the need, opportunities and ambitions of our Latino community.”

At the rally, State Senator Karina Villa read Senate Resolution 977, a measure she sponsored to designate May 8, 2024, as the Day of the Rebozo in Illinois. The rebozo, a traditional Mexican garment blending elements of a scarf and a shawl, holds significant cultural symbolism, representing the strength, resilience and nurturing nature of Mexican women and serving as an icon of indigenous culture in Mexico.

“Today we garner our collective power and let people know that Latinos in Illinois stand strong and united,” said State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago). “This Latino Unity Day, we honor the women and maternal figures in our lives who provide us with the love and courage to continue to advocate for our communities with the commemoration of rebozos.”

The Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus is committed to enhancing the well-being of Latino communities by developing and advocating for legislation that positively impacts the lives of the over two million Latinos residing in Illinois.

During the final weeks of the spring legislative session, members of the Latino Caucus remain committed to engaging in budget negotiations aimed at empowering underserved communities and uplifting Latino families throughout Illinois.