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* 2024 LULAC National Convention & Exposition.

Maria Cardona, Principal, Dewey Square Group Latinovations Founder and CNN & CNN En Español Political Commentator

Maria Cardona

A seasoned public policy advocate and political strategist, Maria Cardona has more than two decades of experience in the government, politics, public relations and community affairs arenas. Recognized among the most influential Latinos in the country, Maria is a Principal at the Dewey Square Group, leading the Multicultural and Public Affairs practices. Maria joined DSG in 2005 and founded DSG’s Latino Strategies practice, “Latinovations,” leveraging her reach in the Latino community by advocating on Latino issues, guiding clients on “best practices” for coalition building and support for their positions, products, and brands within the Hispanic community, and spearheading multicultural campaigns. Maria is also known for her work as a political commentator, and is currently a CNN and CNN en Español political contributor, and who appeared frequently on MSNBC, FOX, Univision and Telemundo prior to signing on exclusively with CNN. She is regarded as one of the nation’s top 100 most influential Latinos.

While at DSG, Maria served as a Senior Advisor and spokesperson to the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign during the 2008 Democratic primary election, serving on the campaign’s Hispanic outreach team. During the 2008 general election, she was a key surrogate for the Obama for America election campaign, a role she revisited during the most recent 2012 presidential election.

Before joining DSG, Maria led the New Democrat Network’s (NDN) outreach initiative with Hispanics nationwide as a senior vice president. Her government and political background includes service as director of communications for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and five years at the Department of Commerce, first as Deputy Press Secretary and later as Press Secretary. During her time at the Commerce Department, she acted as lead communications strategist for the passage of NAFTA in 1993. She also served as communications director for the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2003.

Maria serves on the Boards of Directors of numerous organizations dedicated to Latino issues and youth including Hoops Sagrado, New America Media, Citizenship Counts, PODER PAC, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, and the National Hispana Leadership Institute.

She is a native of Colombia and lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two children.

Panel Information

Friday, September 3

2:30 PM EST

Student Higher Education Debt is a Social Justice Issue

5:25 PM EST

Cafecito-Access: Technology & Broadband

Latinx communities face the insecurity of not having internet access or a stable internet connection, which puts them at a disadvantage in the age of technology. Since most work, school, and social gatherings have now shifted to take place virtually due to the pandemic, it has revealed the disparities of access to the internet by Latinxs. In increasing broadband access and making it affordable, it would impact Latinxs on their overall success and help them gain more opportunities. Advancing in technology and its increased usage also means growing security threats, such as malware and spam, that needs to be addressed by having cybersecurity fight these threats.

Saturday, September 4

3:15 PM EST

Introduction of Artists, Stars & Transforming American Culture to Heal our Nation’s Racial and Economic Divide

Over 50 years ago, the Kerner Commission was convened by President Lyndon Johnson after protests and rebellions in over 150 American cities in the nineteen sixties. The Commission concluded that the cause of the disorders was “white racism.” In the words of the Commission, “It is time to make good the promises of American democracy to all citizens – urban and rural, white and black, Spanish surname, American Indian and every minority group.” America has still not made good the promise of democracy and, in many ways, has gone backwards when it comes to racial injustice, economic inequality and poverty. Over those 50 years we have assembled considerable evidence on what works – yet we have not implemented all of those policies because we still don't have what the Kerner Commission called “new will” from the American public. How can celebrities and social media influencers use their growing power to help create that new will to implement the change we need to heal our nation.

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