Monday, February 2, 2004

Inability of Tennessee Hispanic businesses to get lottery contracts is result of community's youth, disunity

"'The Hispanic community is pretty young,' said Ramon Cisneros, chief executive officer of Spanish-speaking newspaper La Campana."

"That youth appears to show itself sometimes in an inability to speak with one voice, especially if they wanted to take a case to the legislature."

"Two of the main business groups — Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce — don't get along."

"They collided last July over recruiting the U.S. Hispanic Chamber's 2007 convention to Nashville. The Tennessee chamber was handling the recruiting without assistance from the Nashville group. During a reception, members from both nearly came to blows when Nashville Hispanic chamber leaders showed up uninvited."

"'We're probably going through some growing pains,' Cisneros said. 'It will take awhile for the waters to cool down.'"

"The Hispanic community has no representation in the General Assembly, while there are several black legislators and the Black Caucus has significant leverage."

The Tennessean

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