ROANOKE, Va. – The Virginia Latino Advisory Board visited the Star City to relay concerns from the Latino community to the governor.
One by one, Latinos in the Roanoke Valley stood up to voice the troubles they face to the Virginia Latino Advisory Board Thursday night at Casa Latina.
Affordable housing was a big topic. Families expressed their troubles with housing applications and financial aid without a social security card.
“It’s just one barrier after another after another,” Casa Latina Board President Dr. Gresilda ‘Kris’ Tilly-Lubbs said. “And knowing where it’s good to live. All of that is just difficult when there are language barriers.”
Another main concern is the lack of mental health counselors available for Latino students. Some students are facing trauma from the chaos of immigration and separation from their families.
“They still need real assistance with navigating our society,” Tilly-Lubbs said.
Councilwoman Vivian Sanchez-Jones pointed out the extra funding and organizations northern Virginia has in comparison to the Star City.
“The economic backgrounds are different,” Sanchez-Jones said. “The amount of money northern Virginia has cannot compare to what Roanoke has.”
This issue bleeds into the entrepreneur realm.
Latinas Network Founder Kat Pascal called for more resources to help business owners build up financial capital to keep businesses around.
“While we are getting together and trying to move it forward and propel, it’s still a slower process where we are at,” Pascal said.
“We must continue to speak,” Virginia Latino Advisory Board Member Rev. Jonathan Avendano said. “It doesn’t matter what language we do it in. But speak. It’s very important.”
The Board will review the concerns and then finalize a report, which will be given to the governor in the Fall.