El Corazón de Tejas- Central Texas Chapter of REFORMA

Meeting Minutes for December 2001

Monday December 10, 2001, 3:30 p.m.
Benson Latin American Collection, Sid Richardson Hall Seminar Room

Present: Jennifer Thomas (presiding), Margo Gutiérrez, Steve Reich, Gustavo Soto, Leslie Navarro, Irma Flores-Manges, Sarah Bradley, Roxanna Escobedo, Adán Benavides, and Julissa Gómez.

After introductions and approval of the minutes of the last meeting, President Jennifer Thomas informed the members that the Fall benefit party
raised $854.00, and that there were still contributions expected. Jennifer also added that Loriene Roy did an excellent job recruiting sponsors for
the event. All agreed that it was a great party, and Adan Benavides commented that he was especially pleased to see children there and it
seemed to be a real family event.

The next item on the agenda was a thank you gift for the Coteras for their hospitality in hosting the fundraising event. Suggestions included flowers, dinners, and gift certificates. The group agreed that Margo Gutiérrez should ask Martha Cotera if they would prefer that a donation be made instead to the Juan Javier Cotera Memorial Fund. [Note: Martha was happy about this suggestion and a $50.00 check will be sent to the memorial fund on behalf of our chapter.]

The immigration forum planning committee has been meeting every month and the plans are taking shape. Jennifer updated the group on activities. The target audience will be the government and nonprofit sectors, library staff, social service workers, and teachers. Four Central Texas counties will be targeted. The forum will be held Saturday May 11th from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the ACC Rio Grande campus. The format will include a keynote speaker, with breakout sessions following. It is hoped that five major topics will be covered including immigration/legal issues, employment and housing, health services, education, and public safety/police relations. An organizational fair will follow and a referral guide to immigrant advocacy agencies will be prepared to give to all participants. A letter to immigration expert Nestor Rodríguez of the University of Houston was sent last week inviting him to participate askeynote speaker. [Note: unfortunately Dr. Rodríguez will be unable to participate, but he has suggested a colleague from UT Arlington. Jennifer has sent Dr. Manuel García y Griego an invitation.]. We should try to recruit faculty and students from the School of Social Work and other campus department and offices that may be interested in attending the forum. Sarah Bradley, a GSLIS student and Spring 2002 intern assigned to REFORMA activities, will develop a media, community agency, and interested  individuals list so that these may also be invited. Adan will draft a press release as the time approaches, and Margo will share a community radio contact who may give us air time to promote the event.  The next meeting of the planning committee will be on January 18, 2002 at 11:30 a.m. at the Cepeda Branch. All are invited to attend.

Gustavo Soto reported on plans for Día de los Niños on April 27th, but added that  Elva Garza, who was not present, has more details. A short
discussion ensued about sponsorhip of activities and past activities. We will look forward to hearing more from Elva at a subsequent meeting. The Día de los Niños activities will take place on Saturday April 27th at the new St. John's branch.

There was discussion about REFORMA money recently raised and how much should be allocated to the two main spring events. Margo suggested that a budget be developed for the immigration forum and Día de los Niños activities before money is earmarked. [Too, we must get clarification from National REFORMA about how monies will be handled at the end of the year, whether they can be encumbered, or if the total remaining funds must be sent to National before they are again disbursed.]

Gustavo reminded all that it's membership renewal time again. Dues for calendar year 2002 should be renewed as soon as possible so that our
two-thirds can be quickly turned around from the National Office  Gustavo is working on a new database to track membership and dues information. Jennifer suggested that an Outreach/Membership Standing Committee be organized. Leslie Navarro, Julie Todaro, Gustavo, Irma Flores Manges, Jennifer, and Julissa Gómez volunteered for the committee, but others are urged to join.  They will assist in keeping tabs on membership and create a packet for recruitment and for corporate sponsorship.

Although not present at the meeting, Paola Ferate-Soto was commended for her work on the  El Corazón de Tejas newsletter which was distributed at the fundraiser and at today's meeting. As a result of this fine effort, it was agreed that a standing committee for publicity should be constituted. Adan, Joanna Nigrelli (who is assisting Leslie with website), Leslie, Gustavo, and M.A. Sims are members.

The Corazón de Tejas chapter position statement to National REFORMA regarding their financial recommendations is still pending; Paola and
Jennifer will finish drafting the statement before ALA midwinter, at which  time Loriene Roy will present it to the National Board of Directors on our behalf. A copy of the statement will be distrubuted by e-mail.

There was a discussion of our letterhead design and stationery. Gustavo has been working on a design with the assistance of M.A. Sims. Jennifer showed a simple design she has been using for correspondence. Leslie will get estimates for b/w and color stationery from Kinko's or similar establishment in time for our next meeting.

Other business: Irma voiced her frustration and disappointment with the TLA Bluebonnet Award committee. Not enough children's books with Latino themes are being considered for the award, notwithstanding the demographic reality of the state of Texas. Fully one-third of population of the state is  Latino, yet only one or two books with Latino themes were considered this year. Irma will draft a letter expressing our concern as a REFORMA chapter and present it to the group at our next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 25, 2002 at 3:30 p.m. in the Benson Latin American Collection Seminar Room, Sid Richardson Hall 1.115, on the UT campus.

The meeting adjourned at approximately 4:30 p.m.
Submitted by Margo Gutiérrez with great assistance from Roxanna Escobedo

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