Turlock City Council member Steven Nascimento has long been active in voter outreach efforts to the Portuguese-American community and now the Turlocker is expanding his support of this community by serving as executive director of the newly formed California Portuguese-American Coalition.
The new coalition aims to encourage Portuguese-Americans to serve their own communities, providing resources and tips on how they can be successful in their local campaigns.
"The Portuguese in California have a long and proud history of serving their communities in many ways," said Nascimento.
Community leaders gathered at the Portuguese Consulate in San Francisco earlier this month to celebrate the launch of the coalition. The keynote speaker of the event was first generation Portuguese-American David Simas, who currently serves as the Director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach for the White House. Simas shared his story of growing up as the son of immigrant parents, and how his experienced fueled his success and interest in public service.
“We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Without their sacrifice, none of this would be possible” Simas said, speaking to the crowd of Portuguese-American elected officials and community representatives.
The event also featured a presentation from the Chairman of the Luso-American Development Foundation, Professor Vasco Rato, who announced support for the initiative and its efforts.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Portugal,” Rato said. “This initiative has the potential to play a key role in that relationship.”
Strengthening the relationship between the United States and Portugal was a recurring theme throughout the evening, with the Consulate General of Portugal in San Francisco, Nuno Mathias, paying tribute to the contributions of Portuguese-Americans in California and the promise of continued progress.
"For the last 150 years the Portuguese-Americans have contributed greatly to the development and prosperity of California and are an integral part of this State,” Mathias said. “An organization such as this will not only strengthen relationships amongst the community itself but help build stronger connections between Portugal and California."
The March 4 event was just the beginning of the coalition's efforts to bring community leaders together, according to Nascimento.
“We’re looking to partner with the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties to establish Portuguese-American Caucuses for our members,” Nascimento said. “It’s not enough for us to just know that one another exist. We need to find meaningful opportunities for collaboration and advocacy – and that’s where CPAC comes in.”
For more information on CPAC and its mission, contact Nascimento at firstname.lastname@example.org.