Senator Bernie Sanders, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and actor/activist Edward James Olmos Address the 87th Annual Lulac National Convention

WASHINGTON, DC–Edward James Olmos, the respected actor and activist, introduced Senator Bernie Sanders, one day after the presidential candidate announced his support for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton at the 87th Annual LULAC National Convention at the Washington Hilton.

Senator Sanders spoke about democratic platforms that he and Clinton have been writing over the last few weeks. “This country faces enormous problems. All of this is happening in the richest country in the history of the world,” he said. “Our job is to stand up and fight back and not let anybody divide us up.”

“LULAC has long stood for unity amid diversity. Having Sanders express his support for Secretary Clinton and the importance of the Latino voting block, at our Partnership Luncheon, was the perfect message for our members,” said LULAC National Executive Director Brent Wilkes.

Sanders spoke amid thunderous applauds to a standing room only crowd of nearly one thousand attendees when he said, “Our strength…and what makes this country so unique, is in fact our diversity. When we come together … there is nothing that we cannot accomplish,” added Sanders. “I’d hope all of us, are appalled by the bigoted xenophobic comments of Donald Trump. His slander … his lies about the Latino community are unacceptable. This kind of rhetoric and the policies built on that ugliness must be rejected.”

“It’s a testament to the power of the Latino vote to have Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Tom Vilsack and other leading government officials, address the largest gathering of Latino leaders and advocates,” said LULAC National Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “At this convention, LULAC has made critical resources available in order to ensure that the Latino community registers and votes on election day.” “Our politics are an embarrassment. Never before have we been in this position,” said Olmos. “We need to hear the Latino vote loud and clear. We’re the largest majority of people in the Western hemisphere. We must vote. Period.”

“Our attendees are an excellent reflection of an anticipated million Latino eligible voters in this country. We come from different countries of origin, and we all have different viewpoints, but we can rally around civil rights and opportunities for all,” said LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha Jr. “During this election year, we expect Latino voters to come to the polls in full force.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack accepted the Federal Agency of the Year award at LULAC’s Partnership Luncheon. He addressed USDA’s efforts under the Obama Administration to build a new era for civil rights and equal opportunity. Since January 2009, Secretary Vilsack and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have worked hard to transform the culture of USDA to ensure all customers, employees and Americans who interact with USDA are treated fairly, with dignity and respect.

“USDA has made access to opportunity a top priority, bringing more Hispanic-Americans to the agricultural sector than ever before,” he said. “Since 2009, USDA has significantly expanded access to farm and business loans for underserved and minority business owners, more than doubling the credit opportunities available to socially disadvantaged Americans. USDA is committed to building a culture of inclusivity and accessibility.”

The LULAC Convention is the oldest and largest gathering of Latino leaders in the nation and packs more energy and excitement than any other event in the Latino community. This year, LULAC is hosting the annual convention in our nation’s capital where the demographics reflect an ethnically diverse population.

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