By Christopher Cornejo, U. of Pittsburgh Student and Journalism Intern for Presente Magazine
Norman Bristol Colón is a trailblazer in the Pennsylvania Latino community. He is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, and has a Doctorate Honoris Causa focused in Community Service from Colegio de Formación Teológica Ministerial (CFTM). He currently holds a position as Special Assistant for Community Affairs and Development in the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.
Not only does he hold public office, but he is passionate about his community work as well. He is the chairman and founder of the Pennsylvania Latino Convention. The PALC is the foremost leader in events regarding Latino life and experiences in Pennsylvania. The PALC describes its mission as “promoting Latino/Hispanic achievements and preparation for local, state, national and global competitiveness by fostering excellence and ensuring equal access to all aspects of Pennsylvania’s shared prosperity and responsibility.” (PALC Website)
The convention was launched in Lancaster City, PA in 2018. This year, it was held in Reading, PA from September 28th to September 30th. The convention specializes in addressing issues plaguing the Latino community in Pennsylvania in various sectors. This ranges from education and health to voting and housing.
When mentioning the work the convention does, he expresses how important it is as an established body. The work that is done through the 2 day-long event has become essential as a guiding platform for the advancement of the Latino community.
“The convention is a vehicle for statewide comprehensive and inclusive legislation and community and social programs,” said Colón.
Norman himself feels it is his responsibility to use the position he is in for the betterment of the rest of the Latino Community.
“When you are placed in a community you feel passionate about, you do all you can to influence public policy, prioritize funding, and support legislation that will not only benefit your community, but the rest of the state,” said Colón.
Colón also mentioned how important it is to not just seek Latino representation in political offices, but all accessible sectors. Representation and inclusion include all aspects of modern social, political, and economic structures.
“It is crucial to have Latino representation not just in public and private offices, but on corporate, educational, and health boards, among other offices and positions ” he expressed.
Norman Colón is an influential and revered man. He believes in the strength of his community, and the potential it has to achieve great things. He also understands that not only must this country and state accept and support the Latino community, but that the community needs to support one another.
“Community means for diversity for others and for ourselves, inclusion for others and for ourselves,” he strongly expressed.
Colón loves his work and his mission, and he will continue to participate and push for the success of all Latinos in Pennsylvania, and beyond.