Houston,TX – At the monthly meeting of the Republican Hispanic Citizens in Action (RHCIA.org) organization, members gathered to hear more on the direction and focus of the group. Bernadette McLeroy, Chairman of the Board , organized the meeting to include an update on the future of the group as well as introduce the group’s new President, Leonila Olivares Salazar, a Conservative, Christian Latina with a professional background in the real estate industry.
The meeting began with pledges to both the U.S. and Texas flag, followed followed by an inspirational prayer from Ordained Minister, Yleanna Mercado.
Nominating committee Chairman, Sr. Jose Hernandez, announced the new President of the Board (Leonila Olivares Salazar), describing her as having “diversified experience as a small business owner, author, ordained minister, evangelical educator, and mentor to teens and young adults.” After his introduction, Leonila was invited to the front to introduce The Board for the year 2013 and their positions.
Chairman of the Board: Bernadette McLeroy, President Leonila Olivarez, Jessica Diaz VP, Secretary Alexia Rivera, Membership: open, Community Liaison Yleana Mercado, By-Laws and Legislation Jay Asafi, Treasurer Fred Blandon, Judicial Liaisons are the following: Attorney Edward Casanova, Attorney Kevin Fulton and Attorney Sharon Hemphill, Sargent-at-arms Caro Verdugo. Darlene Gardiner (past President of DOL) and Ruben Monzon (Past Candidate for Sheriff), will provide Mentorship to the Board.
In addition to the RHCIA, Leonila has also been working with her team of media / PR consultants, T.J. Huntley, TV Host for RHCIA , Eric Melchor, Public Relations (PR) , Luke & Celeste Jain, Public Relations (PR) and Jesus J. Paredes, IT.
At the podium, with a full audience, Leonila spoke about the future of the organization, high lighting three areas of focus; education, immigration and media.
She outlined the education initiative, Stepping Stones, a mentor-based initiative developed by Duke Machado of GOPisForMe, (an Auxiliary of the Republican Party of Texas,) which will be used to guide students in the 8th grade and prepare them for high-school and advanced education. Using mentors from the organization and associated church groups, RHCIA intends to connect directly with parents and their children, to not only educate the children, but also guide with conservative principles.
In addition to education, Leonila discussed a program in which she and Yleanna Mercado will be working with Pastors to help immigrants file appropriate paperwork to becoming a “Citizen,” a vital necessity in Texas.
It is no surprise; Hispanics get their news and information through liberal media outlets like Univision, Telemundo and CNN. To combat this, Leonila plans to help future candidates by assisting them by building the right message and marketing them through the RHCIA, through video and TV appearances. With media experience, she feels her group can do a better job of positioning local candidates to appeal to Hispanic voters.
Although many in the Republican Party feel it is a lost cause, that the Hispanic community is already solidly in the Democrat camp, Leonila disagrees. When asked to give a response to those who feel the Republican Party has lost the Hispanic vote, she said, “We are sounding a trumpet call to go into the homes and wake our neighbors up. If we can impact one person at a time, I know we have not lost the Hispanic vote. ”
She continued with a quote from scripture, “ I shall knock at their door and they shall open it; while I walk through as an instrument of Thy Peace,” suggesting we must work in unity to empower Hispanics and organizations must come together to build a strong relationship of trust.
Harris county is well on its way to growing a large Hispanic Republican base, and leaders like Bernadette McLeroy and Leonila Olivares Salazar are the committed ground force making it happen.
We at GOPisForMe are excited about the potential of Stepping Stones and look forward to working with the Republican Hispanic Citizens in Action.