LULAC Calls On America And Its Leaders To Truly Celebrate Hispanics
Nation’s Largest and Oldest Latino Civil Rights Organization Says Hispanic Heritage Month is An Opportunity To See Us
Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) issued the following statement in observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, 2021.
Domingo Garcia - LULAC National President
“People say you can see life as a glass half empty or a glass half full. That’s easy to say when you have a glass first and second, there’s already something in it. National Hispanic Heritage Month is a good time to learn the facts about life’s realities for millions of Latinos in the United States to see us truly. That is the only way to celebrate the many contributions we make to our country and understand the challenges we are fighting to change.
For instance, 37.2 million people are living in poverty, approximately 3.3 million more than in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More than 28% of these are working poor, our nation’s essential workers earning from minimum wage to less than $15-an-hour. One in every four ‘poor Americans’ is a Latino man or woman fighting hard every day to fill their glass, not complaining or being idle. Still, for many of them, the American Dream is yet impossible to achieve.
Another example is the constant battle to limit the power of Latino voters in Texas and states like Florida and Georgia that are trying to follow. In more and more places, some elected officials are determined to stifle the Latino vote. They want to pass laws they claim are to stop election fraud, including making it a crime to give someone a bottle of water even if they have been standing in line for hours to cast their ballot! Further, they limit the polls’ hours despite the clear evidence that longer hours increase voter turnout. Or maybe because of that very fact.
It is also challenging to see a glass half full when unemployment for Hispanics rose as high as 9.2 percent in recent months during the pandemic compared to about half that for white workers. Latinas also earn less and only make 53 cents for every dollar the average white, non-Hispanic man makes. Or when the economic bright spot now being cited is that it is government aid programs enabling our communities to feed their families, get medical care or keep a roof over their heads. We are glad that these resources exist and that America is a nation where we can elect officials to support emergency assistance. However, the true and more lasting solution is immigration reform acknowledging that millions of our workers, including DACA recipients, need to legalize their status to stop workplace exploitation and inequities permanently.
Despite these challenges and attempts to place barriers blocking our progress, we celebrate that Latinos accounted for 51% of our nation’s growth during the past decade, and we are now the most multiracial group in the United States. Demographers forecast that we will continue to grow at a pace of 23% every ten years, three times the rate of the non-Latino population. This time in our history is the moment for us to get to know each other better, and National Hispanic Heritage Month is the time to start.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services, and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting the critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/