By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
As social justice movements gain popularity across minority communities, Hispanic and Black leaders continue to charge forward on behalf of their constituents, advocating for government accountability, equity and environmental justice. Hispanic Heritage Month, recognized from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, is a time for a continuance of these efforts.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona spoke on the importance of recognizing the Hispanic community and their contributions to society.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to celebrate our Latino roots and what makes us unique,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “It’s also about celebrating the beautiful diversity of the U.S. This country is unique because it brings people from different places together under one flag.”
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) met inside of the Walter E. Washington from Sept. 19 to Sept. 21 for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s (CHCI) 2023 Leadership Conference and 46th Annual Awards Gala.
“It’s our opportunity to celebrate what’s coming in the future,” said Isabel Guzman, who serves as the small business administrator of the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA).
“We see such incredible opportunities for Latinos to take advantage of investments in infrastructure, broadband and the manufacturing and supply chain,” she said.
According to the SBA, there are nearly five million Hispanic-owned businesses in America, contributing $800 billion to the U.S. economy each year. Also, Hispanic businesses hire around one million workers, with more than $100 billion paid to their employees annually.
Throughout the 118th Congress, the CHC has successfully advocated for a Latinx presence on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors and several other Biden nominations.
The CHC also reintroduced the American Dream and Promise Act of 2023, ensuring a path toward citizenship for Dreamers of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.
CHC members partners with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and the Congressional Asian-Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), together known as the Congressional Tri-Caucus, to push for positive change.
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) Annual Legislative Conference took place from Sept. 20 to Sept. 24 inside of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, with two days overlapping the leadership summit being held by the CHC.
“The CBC has its largest membership ever. You have the Hispanic caucus with its largest membership ever. You put just those two together even without the tri-caucus, and you’re talking about a huge block of power that we have and an ability to influence policy,” Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the CHC, said in an AFRO interview that took place earlier this year. “The tri-caucus has come together to say, let’s all work together because there are so many areas where we have common ground, from voting rights to police and gun safety issues.”
As the CHCI leadership conference kicked off on Sept. 19, the CBC re-introduced its John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act with the support of its fellow Tri-Caucus members.
The Advancement Act was created to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was found partially unconstitutional in 2013 by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The best thing we can do as a tri-caucus is show, nationally, that we are partners,” said Barragan.
Tashi McQueen is a Report For America Corps Member.
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