- TUSD appoints Sanchez new sup't in 4-1 vote
- Tucson approves civil unions for same-sex couples1
- J.C. Scott: Filmmaker facing funding deadline for mariachi documentary
- Radar van locations, traffic incidents & today's gas prices
- Live weather radar
Posted Sep 15, 2012, 1:56 pm
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
As we work to honor Latino culture this month, we should reflect on what makes Latinos unique and such a strong contributing force in America. Latinos across America have made countless positive contributions to our military, education, the arts, the economy, and the social fabric which makes America unique.
With 50 million Latinos across the United States, Latinos now make up the largest minority group and represent nearly $1 trillion dollars in buying power. Latinos also represent the fastest growing segment of the American electorate.
In Arizona, Raul Castro served as our first Latino governor for the state. In 1991, Ed Pastor was the first Latino elected to represent Arizona in the U.S. Congress, and today, there are two Arizona Latinos in Congress, Pastor and Raul Grijalva. In this election, Arizonans have an opportunity to send our first Latino U.S. senator to Washington in Richard Carmona.
In Tucson and Pima County, Latinos have sent a strong message by turning out to vote and leading the state in the number of Latinos that have been elected to governing bodies such as the state Legislature, Pima County government, Tucson city government, local school districts and Pima Community College.
Latinos are a sleeping giant who need to make the long term investment, by registering to vote and casting their ballots, to empower our families and our neighborhoods. The 2010 U.S. Census showed the Latino community grew by four times the national average, accounting for more than half of the total U.S. population increase of 27.3 million.
Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, or four times the nation's 9.7 percent growth rate.
As we increase our population, we should increase our participation at the polls. In Tucson, during the 2011 election, which was conducted as an all vote-by-mail contest, turnout increased in the South and West sides, where a majority of the Latino community resides, by 36 and 27 percent respectively. The sleeping giant is awakening in the Old Pueblo and now it is time to do so in the rest of Arizona.
Concerned about keeping quality reporting alive in Tucson?
A metro area of nearly 1 million deserves a vital & sustainable source of news that's independent and locally run.
Support TucsonSentinel.com with a contribution today!
During this Hispanic Heritage Month, let us reflect on where we have been but not lose sight on where we still need to go. President John F. Kennedy stated, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for our country."
The best thing we can do for our country is to register and vote.