Our history is interspersed with examples of immigrant communities finding their unified voice and identity. Nothing amplifies the virtues of the American Dream as strong as the blossoming of a new immigrant community.
The Latino population is growing by leaps and bounds every year. The latest census figures estimate that the Latino population has reached around 65 million nationally and represents around 20% of our total population. Latinos continue to be the fastest growing demographic in the United States.
But Latinos are not a homogeneous demographic; We are made up of many races, ethnicities and political affiliations. The Latinx community in the United States represents 22 different nationalities.
The Latinx community has grown into an economic powerhouse that continues to shape the essence of the United States. The most critical piece and challenge of this new Latin revival will be to create a new Latin visibility of Hispanidad. Our Latino identity must draw on our common language and our Spanish, Native American and African heritage.
We are on the cusp of a massive change to lead our nation towards a more prosperous and equitable society. Latinos continue to reassess traditional political parties in this new revival. Over the next few decades, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party must seriously assess their strategies to engage and maintain the loyalty of such a complex constituency.
Latinos support conservative values of independence, patriotism and distrust of too much government power. At the same time, new immigrants appreciate the importance of social programs that support the community. Thus, Latinos are ripe for a new form of centrist politics that is more objective and away from radical ideologies.
A group of parents formed Latinos for Education Advocacy and Diversity to be an active voice for families throughout Connecticut. LEAD’s mission rests on four pillars: educational options, financial literacy, civic engagement, and Latin American history and culture.
LEAD understands that through a system of excellent educational options such as charter schools and more professional programs, our communities will have a mechanism of opportunity and growth. Our families and small business owners will have access to the tools they need to achieve financial independence and improve their quality of life through financial literacy.
LEAD is determined to open a charter school on Main Street Danbury to alleviate some of the overcrowding and provide a much needed educational option. This charter school will serve students in grades 6 to 12 and will serve 770 students. The school will ensure that the 770 seats in our charter school are allocated to residents of Danbury. The school will be a public school that will allow the city to increase its capacity without being a burden on our taxpayers. We are confident that by next year we will overcome opposition from our Danbury delegation and look forward to the ribbon cutting for our new school.
LEAD knows that through civic engagement, our community will see the value of participating in our political system. Our community will understand the importance of registering to vote, voting, running for office, becoming a citizen, and navigating our political system to more effectively defend themselves and our community.
LEAD will become an authority on Latin American history and culture. Our history and shared contributions are a vital unifying element that will give community members a sense of pride and a sense of belonging in the United States.
Until the rest of the country learns of the contributions Latinos made and until all Latinos are proud of this nation and realize that we have been important contributors as well, we will never develop that sense of belonging. .
We have gone from a group trying to open a charter school to a statewide movement that will eventually become a national voice of unity and purpose for all Latinos.
LEAD offers a path of empowerment, self-reliance and pride. We have the essence of sugar cane in our bones and the fantastic legacy of empires in our blood. With flavor, with rhythm in our footsteps, Latinos will move forward. Without having to conform to the status quo, we will chart a brilliant new course.
José Lucas Pimentel is CEO of Latinos for educational advocacy and diversity.
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