As Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, I am proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the myriad ways in which Latinos have enriched American culture with their vision, work ethic and creativity.
The influence of the Hispanic community is inescapable- in business, education, government and the arts. The Hispanic community, now 50-million strong, has undoubtedly helped America to be a better and stronger nation.
When you turn on the radio, you’ll hear the music of Hispanic artists that has enjoyed main stream popularity. When you watch the news on television, you probably will see one of the 3,000 Hispanic television reporters. Perhaps without even knowing it, you are probably a patron of one of the 2.3 million small businesses that are owned by Hispanics.
The freedoms and safety we enjoy at home is protected by the 1.1 million Hispanics in uniform. In fact, since the civil war, 43 Latinos have received the country’s highest award, the Medal of Honor. As Latinos, we are, we have been and we will continue to be an essential part of this great country.
Though not all Americans share a common heritage, we share a common dream and therefore we are bound by a common destiny.
My colleagues in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and I will continue to fight for the Hispanic community by protecting the vital pathways to education offered by college aid and protecting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. In fact, nearly 30 percent of Latinos avoid poverty each year because of the monthly Social Security check they receive.
The Hispanic community shares the same priority as all Americans- job creation. We must do all we can to better ensure that all Latinos, like all Americans, have a meaningful opportunity to improve their lives and succeed in pursuing the American Dream. With 11.3 percent of Latinos looking for work, no one can afford to drag their feet on passing legislation that will spark economic growth and help rebuild America. Sadly, the Republican controlled Congress has failed to pass a single piece of legislation to create jobs.
Americans and the Hispanic community deserve better and I urge my colleagues of both parties to work together for a bi-partisan solution to solve our most pressing problems.
As communities commemorate this month across the nation, we recognize our shared history, how far we have come and how far we need to go.
Charles A. Gonzalez is a member of the US Congress representing the 20th District of Texas. He is also the Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.