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The Untapped Power of the Latino Community

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elected officials-latino-community-hispanic

Latinos are a large, young, and growing population, and they’re an integral part of American society. But it often doesn’t look that way.

Marco A. Davis

President and CEO, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI)

Despite our numbers, Latinos lack representation in leadership across every industry: media, tech, government — you name it. To make our community, the nation, and the world better, we must tap into this power and work to make sure Latinos become part of the decision-making process everywhere.

The numbers

According to the Census Bureau, since 2010, the Hispanic/Latino population has grown 23%, while the non-Hispanic/Latino population only grew 4.3%. 

Latinos are underrepresented in the media. A report commissioned by Representative Joaquin Castro (TX-20) found that the percentage of Latinos working in newspapers was only about 8%, and only 11% of news analysts, reporters, and journalists were Latino. The report also found that the majority of these jobs were in service jobs rather than leadership positions. A UCLA report on Hollywood diversity found that Latinos make up less than 8% of film leads or film casts. 

Latinos are underrepresented in tech. Despite some inclusion efforts by Silicon Valley, Latinos are still being left out of the tech workforce. A report by the Pew Research Center found that not only were Latino employees underrepresented in STEM jobs, but their salaries were lower than their white counterparts, too. 

Latinos are underrepresented in government. As we have seen first-hand in recent months, government policies have some of the greatest impact on our everyday lives. But sadly, Latinos only make up 1% of all local and federal elected officials, meaning that policies that have the power to affect us all are being dictated by people with very different lived experiences. 

These numbers just begin to touch on some of the problems. More than ever, Latinos must assert our collective voice and advocate for change, representation, and opportunities. 

Meeting the moment

If there is one thing that has been made abundantly clear, it is this: There are not enough of us at the table, and our community’s needs and concerns are not being sufficiently addressed. We must raise our voices and exercise our power to fight for the support we should already have and to ensure a stronger and more representative nation. 

We have to meet this moment. America has to meet this challenge.  Latinos account for nearly 20% of the population in the United States. To truly reflect these demographic shifts, industries across the country must work harder to ensure that their workforce looks a little more like America; not just in entry-level positions, but all the way up to C-suites and the highest levels of decision-making.

By doing so, we can ensure that real, long-term investments are made in Latino communities, including funding for better schools, healthcare, and other social services, as well as access to capital and financial opportunities to start a business, buy a home, or pursue higher education.

At CHCI, our mission is to provide leadership, public service, and policy experiences to outstanding Latino students and young professionals, and convene members of Congress and other public officials, corporate executives, nonprofit advocates, and thought leaders to discuss issues facing the nation and the Hispanic community. We prepare and help move Latinos into leadership roles in strategic ways. By providing leadership training, life-changing experiences, and professional development resources and opportunities, we help put Latinos on the path to positions of power, making an impact in whatever sector or field they choose.

We support leaders on their journey up the ladder, and we need everyone to do their part to also see, encourage, and raise up the next generation of Latino leaders. If we do, we will ensure a better future for the United States.

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