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Hispanic Pride

Sep 08, 2009
By AJ Block and Sara Lombardi


 Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor
President Barack Obama congratulates Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Photo courtesy of Newscom

Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s ascension to the Supreme Court this August gave Latino and low-income communities across America cause for celebration. As the former mayor of San Antonio, Henry Cisneros, explained in FLYP’s Bienvenidos to the New America, Sotomayor’s rise from her childhood in a Bronx housing project to one of the country’s highest posts is another step in the ongoing evolution of the representation—and perception—of the Hispanic population in the U.S.

Sotomayor’s recent inauguration comes as preparations are underway for this year’s National Hispanic Heritage Month. For the past two decades, September 15 to October 15 has marked a period of special recognition for the cultural and social contributions of Latinos and Spanish-speakers in the U.S. With a Hispanic population fast approaching 50 million people—a number that places the U.S. second to only Mexico in Hispanic population size worldwide—it’s clear there’s much to acknowledge.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) has designated "Latinos Leading a Global Society" as this year’s theme in order to reflect "the Latino community’s continued emergence as a driving force in America." According to a May 2009 U.S. Census Bureau report, "the largest and fastest-growing minority group [is] Hispanics, who reached 46.9 million in 2008, up by 3.2 percent from 2007. In 2008, nearly one in six U.S. residents was Hispanic." Additionally, the report stated, 25 percent of U.S. children under the age of five are Hispanic. This high reproduction rate among U.S. Latinos is one of the main drivers in overall U.S. population growth, which in turn is responsible for continued increases in consumer demand and labor. This growth comes in stark contrast to many of the world’s industrialized nations, where the trend is toward population stagnation or decline. 

But Hispanic leadership won’t be confined to economic recovery. Justice Sotomayor’s addition to the Supreme Court is just one more step—albeit a major one—in the growing prominence of Hispanics in America.

And as this influence continues to increase, all Americans should take a moment to consider not only what Hispanics have done for this country, but what they will continue to do in the years to come.

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Until we stop hyphenating American’s we will always foment racism and sexism. Until the press started shoving her as a Latino / Hispanic down our throats, I might have supported her. Once you label, then all of a sudden she has an agenda.

Shelby DuBois
Sep 14, 2009

Only persons born in Spain are Hispanic. The rest are Latinos.

Rudolph Gutierrez
Sep 9, 2009

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