Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

As we work to honor Latino culture this month, we should reflect on what makes Latinos unique and such a strong contributing force in America.  Latinos across America have made countless positive contributions to our military, education, the arts, the economy, and the social fabric which makes America great.

With over 50 million Latinos across the United States, Latinos now make up the largest minority group and represent nearly $1 trillion dollars in buying power. Latinos also represent the fastest growing segment of the American electorate.

In Arizona Raul Castro served as our first Latino Governor for the state. Ed Pastor was the first Latino elected to represent Arizona in the U.S. Congress in 1991 and today, there are two Latinos in Congress, Ed Pastor , Raul Grijalva and in a few years we have an opportunity to send our first Latino U.S. Senator to Washington.   In Tucson and Pima County, Latinos have sent a strong message by turning out to vote and leading the state in the number of Latinos that have been elected to governing bodies such as the State Legislature, Pima County government, Tucson City government, local school districts and Pima Community College.

The 2010 U.S. Census showed the Latino community grew by four times the national average, accounting for more than half of the total U.S. population increase of 27.3 million. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, or four times the nation's 9.7 percent growth rate.

As we increase our population, we need to continue to increase our participation at the polls.  In Tucson, during the 2011 election, which was conducted as an all, vote-by-mail, turnout increased in the South and West sides, where a majority of the Latino community resides, by 36 and 27 percent respectively. 

According to the most recent DATOS report, Arizona foreign exports in 2012 totaled 18.4 billion.  The state’s largest was Mexico - $6.3 billion, representing 34.2% of the state’s total.

During this Hispanic Heritage Month, let us reflect on where we have been but not lose sight on where we still need to go.  President John F. Kennedy stated, "Ask not what you're Country Can do for You, but what you can do for our Country".  The best thing we can do for our country is to register and Vote.

(Councilmember Richard Fimbres represents Ward 5 on the Tucson City Council.  In July, 2004 Mr. Fimbres received the Ohtli Recognition from the Mexican Government. This recognition is given to those who, like Mr. Fimbres, have dedicated most of their personal and professional life to obtain the well being and prosperity of the Mexican communities abroad.)