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Start Doing: José's Inspiring Message At Latino Talks

May 2016

The first time José Andrés saw the American flag in person, he saw the stars as “a horizon of hope” for immigrants past and present. And before he’d finished telling his story to a sold-out Latino Talks event, the audience was star-struck.

Not a little deal, since the event also featured actresses Eva Longoria and Diane Guerrero, plus members of Grammy-award-winning band Maná, the U2 of Mexico’s rock world. Latino Talks was organized by the Latino Victory Foundation, co-founded by Longoria, which has a mission of ensuring the voices of Latinos and Hispanics are heard. José took part in the first of two panels.

José Andrés at Latino Victory PanelClad in khakis and a black vest, José urged the crowd, and the audience watching live on Facebook, to become more civically active. “The big lie is that in this room, we are all like seals that clap to each other,” he said. Leave it to José to speak the truth, even if the well-dressed crowd might have felt a little sheepish clapping in response. “We must tell Congress, and tell our senators, that your salad was picked by somebody you call illegal. We feed America, one immigrant, one Latino at a time. Stop clapping, start doing!” José added to raucous applause.

“Clapping, cheering, and dancing are all good, too,” he assured the audience, to laughs. “But we must come with the power of knowledge, of numbers, of evidence, to show that immigrants are part of the solution, not part of the problem…Your role is not only to vote, but to bring every Latino you know out to vote!"

“This is why I love you, José,” laughed Latino Victory co-founder Henry Muñoz, the panel’s MC. At an after-party held at China Chilcano, Muñoz called José “the best of an immigrant success story.” And U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, who was in the clapping crowd, chimed in. “José is a leader,” Perez said. “He shows us all that the high road is the smart road.”

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