‘We Need A Plan,’ Hispanic Leadership Gets to Work
In 2015, 193 world leaders adopted 17 goals to end poverty and fight inequality. Now U.S. Hispanic leaders are using the United Nations declaration as a framework to develop similar goals.
Latino leaders and activists across America are participating in a 3-day virtual Hispanic summit to help develop short-and-long-term goals for the nation’s Latino community.
“We need a plan, a Hispanic manifesto for the new administration,” said Claudia Romo Edelman, founder of the We Are All Human Foundation, the non-profit organizing the summit. She is co-hosting the summit with Henry Cisneros, former secretary for Housing and Urban Development, and Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr., president of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI).
To create the Hispanic plan, summit leaders are using as a framework the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) identified by the United Nations. Embraced by 193 countries, the goals were adopted in 2015 and range from no poverty and zero hunger to quality education and affordable and clean energy.
The hope is to transform the world by 2030.
According to the UN declaration: “On behalf of the peoples we serve, we have adopted a historic decision on a comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centered set of universal and transformative goals and targets. We commit ourselves to the full implementation of this agenda by 2030. We recognize that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.”
On Monday, the first day of the Hispanic summit, participants listened to discussions analyzing Hispanic data and the impact of COVID-19 on Hispanic communities. Blessing Omakwu of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said the annual report detailing progress on the SDGs this year depicts the pandemic's devastating impact worldwide.
“In past editions of the Goalkeepers Report — almost every time we have opened our mouths or put pen to paper, in fact — we have celebrated decades of historic progress in fighting poverty and disease,” write Bill and Melinda Gates. “But we have to confront the current reality with candor: This progress has now stopped.”
COVID-19 also was a priority in Cisneros's suggestions during a discussion of the goals for U.S. Hispanics. He stressed that Hispanic leaders and activists need to fight for short-term relief and solutions for Hispanic families and businesses in addition to the long-term goals.
“This is a very bad time for our country obviously and a very hard time for the American Latino community,’’ said Cisneros.
The pandemic has devastated the Latino community because they are essential workers doing jobs in-person instead of working from home, have underlying conditions such as diabetes making them susceptible to the virus and live in crowded conditions that allow the virus to spread easily and quickly, he said.
“We are suffering from the economic consequences, the health consequences, the educational consequences,” Cisneros said. ”We have emergency conditions we have to address...We need to raise wages. We need to raise skills. We need to raise the opportunities for people to break out of the underclass.”
Summit leaders and panelists have selected the SDGs they thought would be relevant to the Hispanic community. Participants were then asked to vote on them. The following SDGs were chosen from the list of 17:
Good health & well being
Quality of education
Decent work and economic growth.
Summit leaders and participants are spending time discussing in-depth each SDG chosen for the Hispanic community and how to put them into action. Other Latino leadership organizations participating in the summit include LULAC, the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA), and the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA). Sponsors include IBM, Bank of America, Pepsico, and Aflac.
The We Are All Human Foundation sponsored four Hispanic Leadership summits in 2019 in Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, and New York.