#DailySnippet: A new report finds that Spanish-dominant Latinos are more likely to avoid certain aspects of life due to fears of questions and harassment regarding their immigration status.
The silence was deafening. For years, Latinos have been threatening to withhold support for candidates or sit out elections as a result of their frustration with stalled policies and their disappointment with elected officials. Many political strategists and elected officials dismissed these antics as empty threats, and assumed that Latinos would continue to vote in historic numbers as they had done so for the past several elections. They were wrong.
Elections have consequences not just for people, but for the politicians and the political operatives who set the electoral strategy. Latino leaders have been warning candidates and elected officials for several months that the lack of legislative action on comprehensive immigration reform, and the willingness of politicians to continue to use it as a political football, has angered Latinos. This anger wasn’t only about being forced to wait longer for action on comprehensive immigration reform, but about being disrespected by the way the subject was discussed and handled.
I should make it very clear that Latinos did not move to the Republican Party or even express support for the policies of the Republican Party in Tuesday’s election. This sit-out was a direct message to leaders in the Democratic Party, that Latinos are tired of the rhetoric and lack of leadership on immigration reform. Strategists who thought they could save a few Democratic seats by marginalizing Hispanics put other seats in jeopardy by doing so, and in the end, failed to elect those they were trying to save.
I will note, for those who are unaware, that I serve as the Vice-Chair for the Hispanic Caucus of the Democratic National Committee. In that capacity, my role is to help set the strategy for how to engage Latinos and build support among them for the Democratic Party. This position allows me to have a more detailed view of what happened during the last election cycle between members of the Democratic Party leadership and the Latino community.
This election cycle will serve as a loud wake-up call to my Party that we need to re-evaluate our approach to both governing and campaigning, if we want to regain support and trust from the coalition of voters who have invested so much in our Party. This is not the beginning of the end of the Democratic coalition, but rather a beginning of the end to old campaign and political ideology that will no longer work in this era of American politics.
The DNC and state party headquarters throughout the country are littered with signs that say, “When Democrats Vote – Democrats Win.” It’s no secret to any astute political strategist that we need to mobilize our supporters to win elections. We need candidates to campaign in a way that will mobilize our supporters, and we need elected officials to govern in a way that will mobilize our supporters. We failed to do that this cycle, but we have the chance to adjust for 2016. Once we do, Democrats will vote, and when Democrats vote – Democrats win!
Back in August, the BBC reported that poverty was making a sharp decline in Latin America. It reported that from 2000 to 2012, the poverty rate fell from 41.7 percent to 25.3 percent.
In countries like Paraguay and Brazil, this decline in poverty has come through the mass production and export of cash crops like soybeans and sugar cane. Spiking beef prices allowed Argentina and Brazil to export large amounts of beef to countries around the globe. These activities helped build a stronger middle class, opening up new opportunities and jobs for those who were living in poverty.
The newly elected president of El Salvador, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, spoke about the decline of poverty rates in his country last month at the United Nations. He talked about the social programs previous Salvadoran administrations implemented, such as pensions for the elderly, financial help for single mothers and nutrition programs for students. These programs helped bring down extreme poverty levels to 13.6 percent in El Salvador.
Mexico and Brazil have also used social programs to fight poverty in their countries. In Brazil, a program called Bolsa Familia transfers money directly to families living in poverty, with the understanding that their children have to attend school and get frequent health checkups and that their mothers have to attend classes. Similar programs in Mexico have helped hundreds of thousands of families get out of poverty.
All of these advances in Latin America are good to see – especially since 25 to 30 years ago, most Latin American countries were in the midst of numerous civil wars that destroyed many economies. Some Latin American governments were ruled by military dictatorships that allowed cronyism and corruption to further devastate economies. Needless to say, back then, helping people get out of poverty was not the first priority for these governments.
Then in the 1970s and 1980s, leftist leaders who promised to fight poverty and indifference won a wave of elections, only to be toppled by CIA-backed coup d’états, another casualty of the Cold War brewing between the United States and the USSR.
Now, a new electoral trend has emerged in Latin America over the past 15 years. Once the civil wars and military dictatorships ended, these new emerging democracies elected new presidents and legislatures. New populist leaders promised to fight poverty and inequality in their countries once again. But this time, without having to worry about a coup, new leaders have had the time to concentrate on keeping their promises.
Whether the focus has been on growing employment opportunities, funding new social programs or increasing exports, it’s great to see Latin America lifting itself out of poverty. Seniors are no longer starving to death, mothers are getting their basic needs met and children are receiving an education. There is still a lot more work to be done, but it is good to know that these new governments are working on helping their most vulnerable.
After high school, I didn’t know what college major to pick so I started working on my Associates Degree without knowing to what end. I enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada and took general education classes that enriched me as a person yet failed to elicit a major. The following summer, an opportunity arose to attend a biomedical workshop – and it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. For the first time, I learned about the field and the facilities and services available here in Nevada.
It took three years after high school for me to realize I was passionate about the biomedical field. I learned about the workshop by accident, through another student, and applied for it only hours before the deadline. Yet while for me the event felt very unique and life changing, it is sadly a rare experience for most Latinos.
According to a report by the White House Department of Education, Latinos are less likely than other ethnicities to enroll in STEM fields because they are not as exposed to it at K-12 levels. The report states that even as the largest minority group in our schools, we are scoring below the national average in fields like math and science.
The report highlights the dire need for more students to graduate in STEM fields, which are vital for the United States to compete in the global economy. This alone will increase the demand for these jobs 17% by the year 2020. If Latinos want to grow with the nation, we need to start exposing our youth to STEM fields at an early age and providing more opportunities at K-12 levels. We need to be more present in the fields that will allow us to thrive as a community and make greater contributions to our country.
As technological progress and demand grows at an exponentially rapid pace, STEM education is no longer a luxury we can afford to dismiss. As Latinos, we have already proven our work ethic and opportunism, but we are missing a common and decisive vision. Our leaders are in place and the systems are present, but awareness is lacking. There is no reason our high school graduates should miss these educational opportunities; they definitely shouldn’t lack access to these programs merely because of ignorance.
The Obama Administration has taken the initiative with the Five-Year Federal Strategic Plan, which targets Latinos and other low-income minorities to grow into the STEM fields. It has developed nationwide programs across that have already shown progress. Latino parents and students should engage in such programs and help develop a better future workforce.
As I advance towards my Bachelor of Science, I see fewer and fewer Latino faces in my classes. It makes me value the opportunity I found a few years ago that much more. I was fortunate to have stumbled upon this area of study – but there is no good reason that I should be an exception.
#DailySnippet: On this day in 1919, Adolfo Domingo De Guzmán “Dolf” Luque became the first Latino to appear in a World Series and played in both all white, Negro League, and integrated teams in the U.S. and Cuba.
To learn more about Adolfo Domingo De Guzmán “Dolf” Luque click here…
May 1, 2006, El Salvador: It’s Labor Day, better known as May Day throughout most of the world. I’m in my homeland’s capital, San Salvador, as 250,000 people are marching in the streets for workers’ rights. To this crowd of thousands I recall the keynote speaker saying:
“Today, we are not only marching for workers’ rights, but we are also marching for our undocumented brothers and sisters in the United States. For the first time, Latinos in Latino America and the United States are not Mexican, Guatemalan or Paraguayan. We are all Latinos.”
According to CNN, close to a million people marched and rallied that day across multiple major U.S. cities. At that time, Congress was debating proposed immigrations laws that would change being an undocumented person in America from a misdemeanor crime to a felony.
I decided that day that I could no longer sit on the sidelines and watch millions of undocumented people get treated like criminals just because they wanted a better life for their families and themselves. So I returned to Las Vegas, filled out paperwork to become a citizen and got involved politically. That’s when my career began.
In 2006, I volunteered for a few campaigns and saw Congress transfer from Republican majorities to Democratic hands. In 2007, I joined the Nevada State Democratic Party to help get Latinos involved in the 2008 caucus. In 2008, I managed an organization that registered and later mobilized thousands of Latinos voters. In November of that year, the Latino vote helped elect the first African-American president of the United States of America. It was a very proud moment for me and for many of my colleagues.
In 2009, we got right to work. We organized a coalition of immigration reform activists to make sure the president kept his promise to pass comprehensive immigration reform in his first term. When that didn’t happen, we fought hard to get Latinos to the polls again. In 2012, we pushed for Latinos to come out to vote again and re-elect the president. And we did it.
Once more, we pushed for immigration reform. In 2013, we got one step closer. With the help of a few Republicans, a comprehensive immigration reform bill passed in the Senate. Yet GOP leadership refused to put the bill up for a vote in the House of Representatives. And now, here we are.
I share this history because I understand the anger people feel towards the President right now. I am angry too. After years of working for his campaigns, organizing my community to support his policies and his elections, immigration reform has been delayed yet again.
The truth is that we should be mad; we have the right to point out, loudly, that he broke his promises time and time again. That he has pushed us to the side once more.
But this is not a reason for Latinos not to go out and vote this election. We have to get up, dust ourselves off and keep fighting. We need to keep active and we need to hold the next Congress and President accountable, and we can’t do that without voting.
If we don’t show up to the polls this election, Republicans will win – not only electorally, but also strategically. They will claim that ignoring Latinos, and even more so, that going against the wishes of Latino voters, has no repercussions. If we give up our voice now, it won’t be heard again.
This road will not be easy, but if we stop voting today, our undocumented friends and family will be forgotten and they will never receive the relief they need. Our community will get taken for granted yet again. The only way to show politicians that Latinos cannot and will not be ignored is to show our power at the ballot box.
So I ask you: please join me in casting a vote this November.
Today is National Latino Aids Awareness Day in the United States. This is an important day to raise awareness about how the HIV epidemic continues to disproportionately affect the Hispanic/Latino community.
While Hispanics make up 15% of the population of the United States, they account for 20% of new HIV cases.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 18,000 Hispanics/Latinos with AIDS have died in the United States and its dependent areas. In 2009, nearly 3,300 Hispanic/Latino individuals with AIDS died.
“Among Hispanics/Latinos, gay and bisexual men are most affected by HIV, accounting for 64% of the 9,400 new HIV infections among Latinos in 2009.
The impact of HIV on Hispanics/Latinos is not directly related to race or ethnicity, but rather to harsh realities and challenges faced by some communities, including lower awareness of HIV status, poverty, access to care, stigma, migration, acculturation (the process of adopting the cultural traits or social patterns of another group) and homophobia.
The National HIV/AIDS Strategy calls for prioritizing prevention efforts in the populations where HIV is most heavily concentrated and for alleviating racial and ethnic disparities, like those documented among Hispanics/Latinos. To achieve the strategy’s goals, CDC is implementing High-Impact Prevention a new approach designed to maximize available HIV prevention resources and have the greatest impact on the U.S. HIV epidemic.”
By Troy Hooper, Real Aspen
Apr 16, 2012
“If we do nothing, the price of water will spike, agriculture and rural communities will become less viable, and households will be forced by utilities and governments to make drastic changes in how they use water,” said Andres Ramirez, a spokesman for a group called Nuestro Rio, made up of thousands of Latinos in the Southwest who educate communities about the history of their culture and the river.