Calif. convention boycott dropped by NAHJ p.16

By: Kelvin Childs Citing a changed political climate and the will of its members, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) ended its moratorium on conventions in California.
NAHJ's board voted 11-0 Jan. 16 at its winter meeting in Seattle to end the four-year boycott, says Joseph Torres, communications director. NAHJ instituted the ban in 1994 because voters passed Proposition 187, which forbade the state from providing undocumented immigrants access to social services, health care, or public schools.
However, an injunction blocked enforcement of the measure. And a federal court struck down Proposition 187's requirements that police, school officials, social workers, health care workers, and other state aides report suspected illegal immigrants to authorities.
In addition, the passage of Proposition 187 spurred significant Hispanic voter participation and led to the election of several Latinos to the state Assembly and Senate, as well as to the lieutenant governor's office. "187 has served as the impetus for Latino empowerment," says Julio Moran, executive director of the California Chicano News Media Association (CCNMA).
The CCNMA and NAHJ's members in California pushed for an end to the ban. Also, NAHJ surveyed its members through its newsletter, and 91% of respondents called for an end to the boycott.
Torres and Moran say many in NAHJ favor returning to California in 2002 for the 20th anniversary of the first national Hispanic media conference. That event, in San Diego, was hosted by CCNMA, and the larger-than-expected turnout of 300 sparked the formation of NAHJ, Moran says.
In a statement, NAHJ president Nancy Baca says, "We felt it was important to honor the wishes of our members, particularly those who work and live in California." NAHJ, which has about 1,500 members, plans future conventions in Houston in 2000 and Phoenix in 2001.
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