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Host Eva Longoria Bastón. Photo: Getty Images
Host Eva Longoria Bastón. Photo: Getty Images

Latino Inaugural 2021 offered hope to the future of U.S. Latinos and a powerful look back at their impact

The inauguration-eve ceremony addressed issues pertinent to Latinos and empowered them to create solutions.

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On Tuesday Jan. 19, actress and activist Eva Longoria Bastón hosted “Latino Inaugural 2021: Inheritance, Resilience & Promise.” 

Latino Inaugural 2021 was an hour-long special designed to highlight, celebrate and honor the substantial contributions that Latino Americans have made to the U.S., as well as usher in a new era of hope in American leadership. 

The momentous event was sponsored by more than 50 major Latino organizations and featured several celebrities as well as activists and political figures. 

It streamed live at 9:30 p.m on Peacock’s The Choice channel, Telemundo and Univision’s digital and social media platforms, as well as on the official website for the event. 

The special opened with a group of Latino elementary school students wearing American flag face masks and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, gracefully bouncing back and forth between English and Spanish. 

In her opening remarks, Longoria Bastón shouted out those children, commending them for being so adorable as well as civically engaged at such a young age. 

“They’re the future of our country, so a big abrazo (hug) to them all,” she said. 

The guests on the special touched on many pertinent issues, including immigration, the pandemic, the pay gap faced by Latinas, climate change, and the rich history and diversity of Latino Americans. 

However, the topic that everyone kept returning to was the fact that Latino essential workers kept our country running even through a pandemic that impacted their communities disproportionately. 

“In our community, we know the toll of the virus all too well. Latinos are 18% of the population, but 30% of essential workers. That’s your teachers and your grocery clerks and your bus drivers and your farm workers. Our community has defined what it means to be essential,” Longoria Bastón said. 

Past the opening monologue, the special highlighted all of the groundbreaking ways in which Latinos have impacted American culture, from sports to politics to space exploration to film and television. 

Some of the trailblazers highlighted were Raul Julia, the actor who magnificently played Gomez Addams in the Addams Family series and movies, Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina woman to travel to space, and Roberto Clemente, one of baseball’s most prominent Afro-Latino players.

Latino Inaugural 2021 was a star-studded event filled with musical performances and even spoken word poetry. 

The first musical performance was an alluring rendition of “America The Beautiful” performed by DJ Kane, Mark Ledesma, Chente Berrera, David Marez and more. They each took turns singing verses, while viewers were shown a slideshow of images demonstrating the beauty of our nation and the courage of our frontline essential workers.

To further propel the messages of hope and to pay tribute to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ Jamaican roots, The Wailers, Skip Marley, Cedella Marley, Shaggy and Farruko also performed the song “One World, One Prayer.” 

 

“One love, una familia, un solo corazón. Quiero ver todo el mundo unido, una sola nación, aquí no importa la raza, tampoco el color. Levántame la mano, que viva el amor. De Puerto Rico a Miami, de Jamaica hasta Cuba,” Farruko sang. 

“One love, a family, a single heart. I want to see the whole world united, a single nation. Here race doesn’t matter, nor does color. Lift up the hands, live love. From Puerto Rico to Miami, from Jamaica to Cuba.” 

Whether it was through music, poetry or just through words, the excitement and pride demanded to be felt throughout this special. 

Nicaraguan-born political strategist and commentator, Ana Navarro-Cárdenas, reveled in the promise of a new Presidential administration.

“I really can’t stop thinking about tomorrow, mañana, and what it will bring: hope and optimism. Part of the excitement is the idea of Joe Biden, such a decent man, swearing in as the 46th President, and Kamala Harris, the first female Vice President. And she’ll be sworn in by the wise Latina herself, Sonia Sotomayor, using the bible of Thurgood Marshall,” Navarro-Cárdenas said. 

One hour is not nearly enough time to encompass the history, cultural impacts, diversity and resilience of the Latino American community, but Latino Inaugural 2021 captured the best it could.. 

To end the special with a touching moment, the students of Roma High Schools’ Mariachi Nuevo Santander brought out their gorgeous harmonies and instrumentals to perform a bilingual cover of “This Land is my Land,” anchoring in the truth that this land was made “para mi y para ti.” 

This is an inaugural tradition that must continue.

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