RECAP: Esperanza’s National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast & Conference 2018
For 16 years, Esperanza’s National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast & Conference (NHPB) has advanced faith-based advocacy to strengthen Hispanic communities across the United States. Truly, it’s a privilege to gather Latino clergy and community leaders for three days of advocacy, prayer, and transformation – no matter what is going on in our communities or in our country.
This June, nearly 250 advocates trained in the art of advocacy and entered the halls of power to advocate for immigration reform and religious freedom. We recognized the work of Latino organizations, partners and trailblazer individuals who have dedicated their lives to serving others. And we hosted over 500 latino leaders who lifted up our nation in worship and prayer while hearing from the top political leaders from both sides of the spectrum at the 12th National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast.
We’re so thankful for our advocates, staff, sponsors, partners and all those who joined us in Washington, DC! United in love and faith, we raised our individual and collective voices for the least these exemplifying faith, integrity and excellence.
Now, let’s a take a look back at #NHPB18…
DAY 1: Tuesday June 12, 2018
We began the conference by welcoming our advocates at our check-in and exhibitor marketplace.
They split between beginner and advanced advocacy training sessions with experts Chelsea Langston and Stanley Carlson-Thies, respectively, from the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance.
Later on, our advocates gathered for a round-up advocacy training session with their fellow state groups to prepare for their meetings on the next day.
We closed the day with a networking dinner where advocates enjoyed worship from renowned gospel artists, a talk on religious freedom between Stanley Carlson-Thies and Stephanie Summers (CEO Center for Public Justice), and a speech by Jaime Lizarraga (Senior Adviser to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi).
DAY 2: Wednesday June 13, 2018
Advocacy Breakfast Briefing at the Dirksen Senate Building – RNC Chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, greeted our advocates and Esperanza Academy Charter School students personally and encouraged them to stay politically active.
Prime Advocacy Co-Founder Mike Gula and Lincoln Clapper educated our advocates to ensure that they can walk into each meeting with confidence knowing they’ve been training by seasoned legislative professionals.
Michigan advocates in front of the U.S. Capitol on their way to meet with lawmakers.
Advocates from North Carolina meet with and pray for their elected officials.
Esperanza’s Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff Danny Cortes presented the Partner Award to the DEVOS Urban Leadership Initiative for their work in the Hispanic community training youth leaders in urban environments.
The 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Benjamin S. Carson encouraged attendees to think about others first, acquire knowledge, and include God into their everyday lives. Watch Secretary Carson’s speech.
Mercedes Fuentes, Director of Programs at NewsEd Community Development Corporation received Esperanza’s Hands & Feet Award on behalf of the organization – in recognition of their faithful fulfillment of the scripture in Matthew 25, calling us to care for the least of these and those in need in our midst. Watch Mercedes’ remarks here.
Tiffany Tavarez, Wells Fargo Vice President of Northeast Community Relations, encouraged attendees to be audacious, to invest in others and in themselves by enriching their human capital and being “light in the darkest of places.”
DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake, urged attendees to exemplify God with their deeds by speaking up for the oppressed, feeding the hungry, and joining in the struggle of the needy. Click here to watch the Assemblyman’s remarks.
DAY 3: Thursday June 14, 2018. (12th National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast)
Clergy leaders Father Benjamin Garcia, Father Michael Marcantoni, Bishop Hector Bonano, Rev. Saturnino “Nino” Gonzalez, Rev. Wilfredo “Choco” DeJesus, and Rev. Alexandra Z. Canales offered prayers for our nation, military, hispanic community, and political leaders. Watch their prayers here.
Esperanza’s Executive Director of National Programs and the Barrio Youth Initiative, the Reverend Ruben Ortiz, presented the Esperanza Trailblazer Award to Carlos “Loso” Bedoya. Loso has taken his ministry of music and evangelism into secular venues, fearlessly proclaiming Christ’s message of love and redemption to the world. Watch a recap video of LOSO’s ministry here.
House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made remarks at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast.
Esperanza’s former Vice President of Education and Dean of Esperanza College of Eastern University, Reverend Dr. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, presented the Spirit Award to Luis Palau for his legacy of faithfulness which has made an impact for the kingdom of God that is far beyond measure. Due to Palau’s delicate health condition, his son, Kevin Palau received the award on his behalf.
The 54th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan (R-WI), spoke about the importance of religious freedom. Watch the Speaker’s remarks here.
Esperanza’s Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff, Reverend Danny Cortes presented the Hands & Feet Award to BronxConnect, Rev. Wendy Calderon Payne, for serving low-income and at-risk youth in the Bronx, and helping to ensure that they have a bright future ahead of them despite challenges they may face in their neighborhoods and families.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reinforced his commitment to providing a path to citizenship to immigrants during his remarks.
Esperanza’s Founder, President, and CEO, Reverend Luis Cortes Jr., introduced this year’s keynote speaker and United States Vice President Michael Pence. The NHPB conference has been attended by every sitting president of the United States since 2002, including President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush, and we were thrilled our attendees got to hear first hand from the current administration about the issues our communities care the most. Watch his remarks here.
The biggest feedback we received? Our attendees experienced a unique faith-based conference in which they were prepared and informed to effectively do advocacy.
“This breakfast gave me confidence to approach my representatives. I also feel comfortable enough to train others on how to organize for a meeting with officials.”
“I felt my voice was heard at Capitol Hill because of Esperanza’s efforts. And it was a new experience to voice my concerns politically so that change can begin to happen.”
“It was incredibly supportive and inspirational. I really look forward to attending again in the future and to being a part of the advocacy work, as well as the awards dinner and prayer breakfast.”
As we reflect on the 2018 National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference, we thank you for what you’re doing to strengthen Hispanic communities across the country and for joining us to pray, advocate and transform our nation!
Curious about how to get involved with Esperanza and our various programs? Sign-up HERE to receive our email updates and newsletters!