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Hispanic community in Md. speaks out at summit

Saturday - 6/16/2012, 6:52pm  ET

Meghin Moore, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - One of Maryland's most multiculturally diverse counties hosted a White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Community Action Summit.

The meeting, held at Montgomery Blair High School in Montgomery County, focused on the achievement gap, small business owners and the DREAM Act.

One of the biggest focuses of the event was for the Obama Administration's recently announced news to stop deporting people who came to the United States illegally as children, provided that they meet certain guidelines. That news was met with loud applause.

More than two dozen Obama administration officials, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, state senators and delegates, Montgomery County officials and Montgomery County school board members also attended the meeting to hear the voice of the community.

Nancy Navarro, the first Latino woman ever elected to the Montgomery County City Council, was one of the officials there to hear what the community had to say. She said she was honored when President Obama appointed her to serve on the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

"This Administration has made incredible progress on a range of issues important to the Latino community, and recognizes that there is still very important work left to complete," Navarro said to the crowd.

Griselda Macias came to the event as a Latino woman and a community member. She wanted to learn more about the issues affecting the local Maryland community, as well as what the national focus was.

"I think we need to have more conversations like this, and a summit like this, in order to really bring the key people together to move this agenda along," she said.

Education was a big issue to many in the Hispanic community.

"We have to make sure the education every day is better, that there are more opportunities so that the young people can realize all their dreams and the good plans they have for this nation," said Blanca Contreras, as translated by WTOP's Max Smith.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)