Centro Board Refuses to Appoint New Board Members
On Cinco de Mayo Latinos protested at Moorhead’s only Mexican cultural center to demand accountability from the board of Centro Cultural de Fargo-Moorhead. The protest resulted in an exchange between board chair Christine La Coursiere and two new board members and Moorhead city council member Mark Alternburg. This negotiation exposed the urgency for Latinos to take back their Centro Cultural.
The Latino Community demands the resignation of La Coursiere, and an investigation by the MN attorney general of the activities of both La Coursiere and Creel-Falcon (who made a swift exit from the board when our community protest was announced). The Latino community deserves answers. (See protest story at Mexi-Can.org)
Four days after the protest, community members met with Centro board member Luis Arellano. As the group discussed filing a formal complaint with the MN AG office, Luis Arellano asked that the group consider a different strategy. Arellano said he would contact the other two board members and hold a board meeting where new board members would be appointed from the group. He asked that La Coursiere remain on the board to assist in a transition, however, the group said they wanted her removed entirely from the board and she could volunteer information as a non board member. Luis and the group agreed that a meeting, with all three board members would take place on May 19 at 6 PM: that the board would vote in new board members and that the group would request La Coursiere’s resignation from the board.
Centro Board member Luis Arellano agreed to set up a board meeting for May 19th. He said he would get all three board members to the meeting and that the group could submit their names for board positions and have a vote to elect new board members.(Audio here) http://Kiwi6/file/eiz744orz8
After several days of multiple calls to Arellano for a solid conformation of the meeting, Centro finally announced May 15 a community “Listening Session” on Face Book scheduled for Sunday, May 19.
The May 19 community meeting at Centro did not produce the results the Mexican/Latino community was promised by the board of Centro Cultural de Fargo-Moorhead. The meeting was dominated by Moorhead Council member Mark Altenburg and past Moorhead city council member Diane Wray-Williams. They were asked why non-Latinos were running the meeting and the group was told that the board had asked Altenburg to facilitate. It was very clear that the meeting was not going to be a Centro board meeting for the purpose to appoint new board members as Luis Arellano had promised. The group stayed engaged in the meeting and repeated multiple times that they were there to have the Centro board appoint new board members. There were six community members present that were willing to join the board of Centro that day. However the board refused to call a meeting and appoint new board members.
For the full video of the meeting, view it below:
It is clear that the Board of Centro Cultural de Fargo-Moorhead is unwilling to meet the demands of the Mexican/Latino community to remove La Coursiere and appoint new leadership to bring the Mexican center back to the Mexican/Latino community.
Therefore, the group will proceed with filing a formal complaint to the MN Attorney General. The complaint will also include the request that the MN attorney general’s office remove all current Centro board members and replace them with representatives of the local Mexican/Latino community. We will submit a list of people willing to serve as Centro board members with the complaint.
What You Can Do:
1. If you are a Latino and live in the Fargo-Moorhead area, submit an application to be appointed on the board of Centro. You can download the application here: Centro Board Application Form
Fill out the form (a resume is not required) and send it to email@example.com and we will include your application in the complaint and will also submit it to Centro. If you need help or assistance filling out the application, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a phone call or a visit to assist you.
2. If you are an ally in this community movement to take back Centro, sign our petition and ask your friends to sign it.