Connecticut may be a blue state, but many Latino Republicans wonder why there aren’t more Hispanics registered in the Republican Party. This is surprising to the state’s most influential Latino Republicans because they believe that Latino culture aligns more with Republican viewpoints than Democratic ones.
“Hard work, education, self-sufficiency, strong religious moral fabric — those are all qualities that more align with not only Latinos but also the Republican Party,” said Isaias Diaz, an attorney and former chair of the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission.
Diaz, now 37, was originally a Democrat, because he says, “I thought that’s what I was supposed to do because I was poor and I was Puerto Rican.” He changed his affiliation in his early 20s after realizing that he was not on board with what he saw as the Democratic platform.
“When I learned how they have such a history of hostility towards Christianity, I found that I couldn’t really align myself with them anymore, so I left,” Diaz said. “Even now, today it happens. There are just so many attacks on free speech, religious freedom… I don’t think that Latinos want schools to not be able to hold church services; I don’t think Latinos have an issue with the Ten Commandments being in a courthouse, or a cross being on a war monument.”
Malvi Lennon, a former candidate for state representative in Windsor, agrees that Latinos, especially in Connecticut, should be able to identify themselves as conservatives. However, she believes they are primarily Democrats because Republicans have lost control of the messaging.
The two-day event, which is part of the Connecticut Film Festival brand, will feature over 75 Spanish and Portuguese language documentaries, movies, and short films. The event will also incorporate Latino music, arts, culture, and food.
“Some of the best filmmakers in the world come from Mexico, South America, Central America. I mean it’s great writing, great cinematographers,” said Tom Carruthers, executive director of both the Connecticut Film Festival and ¡Viva Cinema!.
Many of the films screening this year focus on human rights and work related issues. One major showing for the festival is the Venezuelan film “Pelo Malo,” which is about a nine-year-old boy’s obsession with straightening his hair — making his mother question his sexual identity.
“We wanted films with social relevancy…work, immigration, human rights related issues, those are important messages in those communities,” Carruthers said.
He believes it is crucial that Connecticut residents have the opportunity to see Hispanic films in person and that they have a venue to discuss the movies with others. The event will also give filmmakers the chance to compete for awards in several categories, including: Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary, and Best Short Film.
“The importance of this is you need to bring cultureless to that part of the community,” he said. “There’s not really enough of them [festivals].”
There are a few moments in history where the actions of a few, good or bad, can impact generations to come. We are at one of those crossroads when it comes to protecting the Internet.
The Web is a place where we are all created equal. A blogger in rural Kansas has the same means to broadcast information as a major company in New York city. This premise promotes entrepreneurialism, democracy, and opportunity. Tinkering with this foundation, even just a little, could have major ramifications.
While cable companies may argue this is only fair for them, I argue that increasing a profit for a few can ultimately destroy the wealth of most. Wealth not only in monetary terms, but more importantly, in access to information.
This change was not asked because the public saw a problem. This change was proposed because a few saw it being a problem for their bottom line.
The FCC is a public institution whose aim is to protect the interest of the public. This is tremendous opportunity in history- please side with the people.
You too can file comment at: http://www.fcc.gov/comments for Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet.
From leading a state commission, to serving on a city council, to heading the state’s leading Hispanic Democratic Caucus and working in a U.S. senator’s office, there is no doubt they are rising stars in the state’s political arena. And while Isaias Diaz, Joe Rodriguez, and Eloisa Melendez may have different backgrounds and ideology, they have all chosen politics as a way to help the Latino community move forward and they agree – their political careers are only just beginning.
Isaias Diaz, 37, is Puerto Rican and grew up in a single-family household in Waterbury with eight other siblings. Though he grew up poor, he believes he is living proof that breaking the cycle of poverty is achievable and a lifetime of relying on government services is not necessary.
“I had to grind and I had to struggle, I had to pay for my own education, it was tough, it’s still tough,” Diaz said.
Diaz was able to overcome the poverty hurdle and eventually earn a law degree from Quinnipiac University. Soon after, he was appointed to the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission [LPRAC] and within four months, he became the commission’s chair. He served in this role for four years, with a Democratic majority membership until 2013, he had to leave the position due to leadership term limits, however, he remains as commission member.
“We try to deal with all the issues that are plaguing the Latino community statewide,” Diaz said. “So that has been a great experience.”
Diaz is active in the Republican Party. He currently supports and is helping Sen. John McKinney in his quest to become governor. Diaz believes liberal polices will not benefit the Latino community in the long run and Republican polices are what Latinos need to thrive.
“I just feel conservative principles are the way to get it done. I don’t want to be the guy who says ‘let’s just go and get our people more benefits,’” Diaz said. “I want to be the guy who says ‘let’s go make great opportunities, let’s create ways to make our people self sufficient so we can be self sustaining.’”
Diaz hopes to not only accomplish this now, but also to do this someday as the first Latino governor of the state of Connecticut.