Group’s landmark policy agenda addresses criminal justice for the first time
The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of 40 prominent Latino organizations, has called for repeal of the death penalty. Collectively, the NHLA leads advocacy behind pressing civil rights and policy issues impacting the 58-million Latinos living in the U.S.
The NHLA Public Policy Agenda is issued only once every four years. This year it includes criminal justice reforms for the first time, as national scrutiny grows over race, the death penalty, and mass incarceration.
“Latinos are a growing part of the national trend away from the death penalty because they are directly affected by its injustices,” said Shari Silberstein, Executive Director of EJUSA, a national organization that launched a dialog with Latinos about the death penalty in 2012.
“The criminal justice system has been racially skewed,” said Hector E. Sanchez, Chair of the NHLA. “Latinos are disproportionately and adversely affected by discriminatory policing and criminal justice practices, and that includes the death penalty.”
“For years many members of the NHLA have combated the worst aspects of racial profiling against Latinos, Crimmigration challenges, and Stop & Frisk over-policing. It only makes sense that our coalition take a strong, public stance on these issues,” notes Juan Cartagena of LatinoJustice PRLDEF and co-chair of the NHLA Civil Rights committee.
“An organization with this kind of clout will definitely influence the debate,” Silberstein continued. “Members like LatinoJustice PRLDEF, LULAC*, and MALDEF** are providing incredible leadership at a critical moment. States are rolling back or repealing the death penalty more than ever before.”
Last year the National Latino Evangelical Coalition became the first national Evangelical Association to call for repeal.
* League of United Latin American Citizens **Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund