Thousands expected for La Raza Convention

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Thousands of Hispanic leaders from across the country are coming to Kansas City Friday.

Over the next five days they will attend attend a conference sponsored by the National Council of La Raza at Bartle Hall, this national group intends to promote the positive aspects of the Latino culture while providing valuable resources to Hispanic leaders.

Some of the conference is open to the public. There will be free health screenings and a family expo. It  is expected to attract more than 40,000 people to downtown Kansas City.

Democratic presidential candidates Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will fly to town Monday to speak at the conference.

Organizers say they invited all of the Republican presidential candidates to the conference, but they all declined to attend. La Raza officials believe one reason might be because immigration is such a hotbed issue.

While many Republicans want to deport all illegal immigrants, La Raza supports helping those who have lived here for years to become legal citizens, which is something they hope to address with their constituents this week.

"It’s an opportunity for us to hear what’s going on in our community, working with those other agencies that our affiliates of NCLR to talk about issues like education, health care, workforce development, housing and of course, immigration is a big topic right now and one we pay close attention to," Enrique Chaurandwith the National Council of La Raza said.

The National Council of La Raza conference begins Saturday and runs through Tuesday of next week. If you would like to attend, you can learn more at nclr.org.

Back in 2009, La Raza leaders were upset that a member of the Kansas City Parks Board had ties to an anti-immigration group. They asked the Mayor at the time, Mark Funkhouser, to dismiss her, and when he refused, they moved their conference to Chicago. But La Raza is back largely due to the fact the President of the organization is from Kansas City metro area.

This conference is expected to have an economic impact of $6 million dollars.