Hispanic leadership group develops a blueprint for the future
From education to coping with the impact of COVID-19 to the environment, Latino leadership and advocacy groups lay out a plan for the future well-being of U.S. Latinos.
The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of more than 40 Latino advocacy organizations, has developed a comprehensive agenda to guide lawmakers to make policy decisions that will impact Latino communities.
NHLA’s 2020 Public Policy Agenda, released Oct. 1, identifies ten areas as priorities for the Latino community through 2024: economic security and empowerment; education; immigration; government accountability; civil rights; environment and energy; health; Puerto Rico; women and LBGTQ.
However, the pandemic and its ongoing impact on Latino communities remains “one of the most important issues facing the nation’s largest minority group,” according to an NHLA press release. The organization points to data from the Pew Research Center that showed “an estimated 59 percent of Latinos reported someone in their home had lost a job or had their pay cut as a result of the pandemic, compared to 43 percent of U.S. households overall.”
“The NHLA policy agenda is an American agenda that brings the major issues of our time into focus through the lens of the Hispanic community,” Amy L. Hinojosa, President, and CEO of MANA, A National Latina Organization, said in a prepared statement. She noted that there are more than 60 million Hispanics in the U.S.
Here’s a look at the ten priority areas outlined in NHLA’s public policy agenda:
Economic security and empowerment: “Latinos continue to face a wealth gap...and COVID-19 has further widened the gap.”
Education: “Latinos comprise more than a quarter of all public K-12 students, yet they continue to face hurdles accessing educational opportunities and resources.”
Immigration: ”Anti-immigrant fervor is on the rise. At the same time, meaningful reforms to the nation’s broken immigration system remain unaddressed.”
Government accountability: Better representation is needed for Hispanics in the federal government career workforce.
Civil rights: “Latinos continue to face institutional and purposefully discriminatory actions in the areas of the decennial census, criminal justice, the judiciary, and voting rights.”
Environment and energy: “Latinos live in areas that are increasingly experiencing the devastating impacts of global warming, such as Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico, longer and stronger wildfires in California, flooding from sea-level rise in Florida, and historic drought and heatwaves in Texas.”
Health: “Latinos face barriers to healthcare, with many uninsured and unable to secure access to culturally and linguistically appropriate services.”
Puerto Rico: “Puerto Rico is home to over 3 million people who are denied some of the basic rights and federal benefits of citizens living on the U.S. mainland.”
Women: Latinas often encounter additional systemic barriers such as the gender pay gap.
LBGTQ: LGBTQ rights vary greatly depending on the location of the workplace or residence.
"An inclusive nation that attends fully to the interests of the growing Latino community will thrive through policies that utilize and reward the talents and efforts of all its residents from all communities," Thomas A. Saenz, NHLA Chair and president and general counsel for MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), said in a prepared statement.