Latinos Demand that Christine La Coursiere Resign from the Board of Centro Cultural de Fargo-Moorhead
Moorhead, MN–On Cinco de Mayo 2013, we held a protest/celebration of Cinco de Mayo at Centro Cultural in Moorhead, MN. The center has not held any programming or events for the constituency of Centro Cultural – – an organization founded by Mexican farm workers for Mexican families. The organization was created to serve a community that has traditionally not been able to get services and assistance anywhere else in the community. The mission of the organization, from its inception, was to preserve Mexican culture and improve the lives of the Latino population.
In the past few years, however, the Center Cultural created to serve Latinos has been hijacked. There have been no formal filings from Centro Cultural’s board of their 990 tax forms for the past two years. There is no way for anyone to know who is serving on the board, or know the finances of the organization. The organization has not been compliant in required filings to the public. Follow the links for a background of concerns about Centro Cultural’s lack of leadership: http://mexi-can.org/weve-lost-our-center/
The Cinco de Mayo protest held at Centro Cultural to demand answers about funding and programming: http://lastrealindians.com/the-real-cinco-de-mayo-cindy-gomez-schempp-from-mexi-can-org/
Here is the Fargo Forum’s coverage of the event: http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/398793/publisher_ID/1/
KVRR News Story aired 5-6-2013
On the day of our protest, Christine La Coursiere was unable or unwilling to answer Latino community members/protesters questions about the use of funding, the status of funding, the programming of Centro Cultural, and a whole host of abuses of the Center and its constituency (including not allowing Latino members access to the center, while holding events for other non-Latino groups; misuse of the facilities for illegal activities; and lack of accountability to the community regarding the use of funds). The conversation was interrupted by a Mark Altenburg, a member of the city council who was attending a letter writing campaign at Centro for the Prosperity Act. This letter writing “event” was announced only a few hours before our scheduled protest on Cinco de Mayo, and none of the Latino community was invited online to the event except for the organizers of the event and the City Council member. The exchange of non-answers and justifications from the board chair; and the impromptu rescue and discussion with the city council member and the protesters are captured on video and audio here:
To see the video broken down into smaller clips and transcriptions, go here:
Video and audio recording of the negotiation with Centro board members on 5-5-2013
The protest and the exchange between LaCoursiere (and the two newly inducted board members, one of whom has quit the board since the protest) as well city council member Mark Alternburg, exposed the urgency for Latinos to take back their Centro Cultural. The Latino Community demands the resignation of LaCoursiere, and an investigation by the attorney general of the activities of both LaCoursiere and Creel-Falcon (who made a swift exit from the board when our community protest was announced). The Latino community deserves answers.
Since the protest was held, protesters have also learned that for many months, and perhaps a year or longer, the organization was only operating with LaCoursiere and Creel-Falcon at the helm of the board. We have also learned that funding for the organization has been lost or squandered. Now, the only Latino community center is on the brink. And, it is up to US to bring it back!
Here is what you can do:
Sign and share the petition demanding the resignation of Christine LaCoursiere. Although she has been formally asked to resign on behalf of the Latino Community, she has yet to do so. We need to prevent the loss or destruction of information regarding the finances and administration handled by LaCoursiere or Creel-Falcon. We are demanding LaCoursiere’s resignation and her keys so we can do a post-mortem and rebuild the organization while there is still time.
Let your opinion be heard. Your signature on the petition will be seen by LaCoursiere and Creel-Falcon, but the Attorney General also needs to hear from us. We need an investigation and we want answers.
Sign this Petition and Demand that Christine La Coursiere Resign from the Board of Centro Cultural