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UnidosUS President & CEO, Janet Murguía announced the launch of the campaign Aug. 16.
UnidosUS President & CEO, Janet Murguía announced the launch of the campaign Aug. 16. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

UnidosUS launches ‘Count on Us’ campaign in Arizona to highlight Latino contributions in the state

Launched with Arizona leaders, the hope is to raise awareness of Phoenix’s largest demographic group, putting AZ at the forefront of Latino political power.

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Latinos contributions to the country have been wrongly ignored, forgotten, and disregarded. Even while its cultural, economic, and community contributions are large, not many who aren’t Latino are aware of it. Many states are kept going in part because of the ever-growing Latino population that make up large portions of the labor force and more. 

Ahead of Hispanic Heritage Month, President and CEO of UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino Civil Rights organization, Janet Murguía, accompanied by Arizona leaders, launched the national ‘Count on Us’ campaign in Phoenix, on Tuesday, Aug. 16. 

It aims to raise awareness, educate, and highlight the strong contributions of Latinos to Arizona’s economy, communities, and culture. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos now make up the largest demographic group in Phoenix, the state’s largest city and one of the most-populous in the U.S. They also make up over 32% of the state’s population. 

“Latinos are taxpayers, job creators, and major contributors to the economic and social well-being of Arizona and this country. This campaign will open more people’s eyes to the real story about what the Hispanic community means to our nation and our future. We hope to inspire people from all backgrounds to join us in recognizing our community’s contributions and also work with us to address challenges that can hold Latinos and Arizona back,” Murguía said. 

Not only is it looking to highlight the good, it also aims to educate and make the public aware of the barriers that still face Latinos in the country. This includes immigration, health care, housing, education as well as other basic necessities of life that the community lacks despite the population’s growing importance in the country. 

As a part of the campaign, they cited some of the contributions and challenges that go hand-in-hand. According to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Latino-owned businesses account for over 1 million Arizona residents being employed. However, Latinos themselves still face major financial insecurity and are unable to afford housing in the same neighborhoods where their business are located.

Latinos make up a large portion of the labor force in America. Even with certain advancements in the number of Latino small businesses, a huge growth of Latino essential workers, and millions of immigrants who pay taxes each year, they do not see the fruits of their labor. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Blog, a large number, 29 million Latinos are part of the labor force in the country. They are driving the labor force of growth. More than 70% of Arizona’s essential workforce, such as healthcare, hospitality, emergency services, to name a few, are Latino, and are unable to get access to equitable healthcare or healthcare at all. 

Not just Latino Americans, but Latino immigrants account for over $2.4 billion of taxes in annual Arizona state tax revenue according to data from the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Despite paying a lot of taxes to the state and the nation, Latinos do not see that money being redistributed back into their neighborhoods, communities, or schools. Many schools across the nation in heavy Latino cities or states, and specifically in Arizona, the needs of Latino students, such as multilingual education, are neglected. 

The President and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Monica Villalobos, spoke out in support of the campaign. 

“The Count on Us campaign is a rallying cry to strengthen our economy by working together — The hard work and creativity of Latinos help to create jobs and business opportunities for everyone. This campaign brings well-deserved attention to Latinos’ contributions to our economy and quality of life,” she said. 

Along with the economical contributions across the board, cultural contributions can also sometimes speak louder than words, when neglect from those in charge of helping do not. That’s especially true in Arizona, where the Latino population is now one of the largest demographic groups in the state, and murals, art pieces, festivals, and music can be found throughout its urban and rural scapes. 

One of the locals to be featured in the campaign is Kathy Cano-Murillo, who is owner of the Crafty Chica brand spoke on the significance of the campaign. 

“The Latino arts and culture community in Phoenix is vibrant and growing — Latino designers and creators, musicians and muralists contribute to the vitality of the Phoenix community in so many ways,” said Cano-Murillo. “We are very passionate. We are brave. We start businesses. We share the things that we make. We embrace our heritage. Together, we make our communities strong and beautiful, and we keep our economy running.”

Together with the campaign itself, UnidosUS also works with over 11 different affiliated community-based organizations in the state that helps the expansion of quality of jobs, healthcare, housing, and other life essentials not readily available to Latinos.

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