Concordia’s Latinx Organization for Achievement (LOA) held the first of what group leaders hope will be an annual event that brings community members together to create a greater connection between the Latino/Hispanic community in and around Fargo-Moorhead.
The Tri-College Alliance of Latinos Conference was a collaborative effort between students from Concordia College, North Dakota State University, and Minnesota State University Moorhead.
Jesus Gonzalez Ruiz ’25, LOA’s president, called the conference the best LOA event of the year.
“I say the best not because of the speakers, spectacles, energy, or coordination. All of that was great but, for the first time in a while, we were able to show the Latino community the power of community,” he said.
Gonzalez Ruiz said Latino communities in Minnesota and the United States are growing, but discussions and resources aren’t growing alongside them. With local business owners and city officials in attendance, he believed the event led to a better understanding of topics facing the F-M Latino community.
“As we move forward, we hope to get more community leaders to attend so that we can raise awareness of these issues, make room for conversation, and figure out a way to address some of these issues,” he said.
There were two panels, one about Latinos in Fargo-Moorhead and one on Latinos in education. The community discussion was led by Dr. Fanny Roncal Ramirez from the Spanish department, Martha Castanon from the Immigrant Law Center, and Karla Hernandez from the Prairie Rose Agricultural Institute for Research, Innovation, and Education (PRAIRIE). Dr. Angel Carrete Rodriguez from the Offutt School of Business, Sunet Rubalcava from the Center for Student Success, and Dr. Robert Nava from MSUM led the education discussion.
There was also time for networking, delicious food, a cultural showcase, and a dance.
“Fargo-Moorhead is changing, and the Latinx Organization for Achievement is here to help guide that change,” Gonzalez Ruiz said. “Latinos may not be the majority, but they are still here, living, and creating stories. Next year will be one in which people will get to hear those stories and, hopefully, it may bring our communities closer together.”