This past summer I went door-to-door throughout Avondale to win a seat on the city council. In the neighborhoods that were older, lower-income, and predominantly Latino, I had many great conversations with residents. The end of most of those conversations was similar. Latinos would close the conversation with a simple request: "When you win don't forget about us."
Avondale is a growing and dynamic city. With a population estimated to be more than 83,000 it is the 12th largest city in Arizona. Avondale is second only to Yuma as Arizona's second largest Latino-majority city with 50.3 percent of residents being Latino, A=according to the most recent US Census. When I was sworn in earlier this week, these statistics were on my mind, as I became the only Latino on the council.
As a city councilman, I am eager to work hard for each and every citizen, regardless of culture, gender, or ethnicity. That said, I know that as the only Latino on the council, Latinos and non-Latinos will look to me as a strong proponent for the Latino community. It's a role in which I am eager to serve and it's a role I am quite accustomed to.
Throughout my more than 20-year professional career, I have often found myself as one of a handful, or the only Latino in meetings. Because of this, I knew I had to excel. I knew I had to succeed. I knew that non-Latinos would base a good amount of their perceptions of our community on their interactions with me. As the only Latino on Avondale's City Council, I am certain the same will hold true in my service to my city and our community.
This knowledge makes me aspire to accelerate the achievement of Avondale, including Latinos. As a council member, I will work to make our city a leader in the West Valley when it comes to increasing access to quality education, attracting and growing businesses, and promoting amenities that make our city a great place to live, work, and play.
To do so, I will need the support of the Latino community. More than ever, Avondale Latinos must be active and engaged in their city. Sign up for a board or commission. Attend and participate in city council meetings. Reach out to me and other city council members to share what is important to you and our community.
There is much work that lies ahead. But it is work that will make Avondale and Arizona a better place. And it takes all of us, working together, to turn possibility into reality.
I close this conversation with the same request my Latino neighbors made of me when I knocked on their doors. Now that I have won the privilege of serving, don't forget me.
Lorenzo Sierra is a member of the Avondale City Council.