Latino Youth and Politics

Latino Youth and Politics

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We The Americans...

     As inhabitants of the United States and the world, we the young hispanics, latinos, and chicanos of America need to take a stand against those who would rule this country with disregard for our development as an appreciated and respected culture. Our parents have fought their whole lives to give us what we need to survive, but now is our time to fight. Even today, in our nation that is so focused on "equality" there is a silent prejudice that is tearing our country apart at the seams. As a country, we have made great strides toward learning to understand each other, but understanding is not enough. Our president George W. Bush and many others in power today are only doing what has to be done in order for us to maintain silence and keep working. Now, through education, political activism, youth leadership, and action, we will grow as a people.
     I fully believe that education is the key to the progression of our civil and human rights. Hispanics are a very intelligent people, now we must use the opportunities available to us to teach ourselves and our children how to be strong. According to the National Council of La Raza, the leading organization dedicated to the betterment of hispanic lives, "no issue is of greater concern to the latino community than the low educational status of its children." In today's schools, latinos are becoming a large minority in many schools due to the fact that "more than one third (35.7%) of Hispanics are under 18 years of age"(NCLR 9). Did you know that the "number one candidate to drop out of high school is latina girls"(NCLR 3). These are our mothers and daughters, the ones who teach and care for our children. How can we let our children be raised by uneducated women? Our children are learning in schools that are "overcrowded, underfunded, and ill-prepared to provide rigorous academic instructional and intervention services"(NCLR 9). Since George W. Bush has basically shown in his budget proposal that he is not interested in helping latinos with their education, by this I mean he has not chosen to increase funding of any of the latino focused educational budget items, and he has even chosen to cut the funding of the number one college preparation program for low income areas GEAR-UP by 68 million dollars or 1/4 of their budget (White Paper 5).

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If we cannot count on those in power to support our youth, we must find other ways to keep our children educated and prepared for the future, this means becoming active within your community. In order to really make changes, we must be educated ourselves, that means fighting to get your secondary and post-secondary education, that means applying to colleges and looking for scholarships. As young latinos and hispanics we must take our future into our own hands by forcing lawmakers and policy changers to hear our cause, through peaceful demonstration and a demonstration of our power.
     As of the year 2000 there are more than 37 million hispanics living in the united states (Census 1). In the current governmental representation system, there is little representation for a large population of Americans who are affected by every decision made by those who do not wish to tighten any grasp we might have on socio-economic equality. In order for us to protect the interests of our people it is imperative that we the youth, become politically active. Being politically active means going beyond the protective wisdom of our parents and elders, and forging new relationships with lawmakers and government appointees. We must also fight to protect our parents, because they have been raised within a system of limits and responsibilities which they cannot always escape. The new Bush budget has introduced severe funding cuts for several major social programs which affect latino adults every day, such as the Adult Employment and Training Activities, the Dislocated Worker Employment and Training Activities, and the Youth Programs (White Paper 9). Without writing to politicians, demonstrating, and openly opposing the disregard for the living conditions of the working people, we will never truly see what great levels we could reach.
     Hispanics have come to be a major factor in the economy as workers, business owners, corporate officers, and servicemen, but statistics show that hispanic workers consistently earn less than non-hispanics (Census). Hispanic women earn less than any other race of women, and the men are behind in pay as well (NCLR 6). In order to stop these trends we must unite in order to support equal opportunity employment, dislocated workers programs, and general protest toward the prejudice that keeps us fighting to survive. The National Council of La Raza, believes that Bush's Budget plan is a "terrible disappointment to the latino community," so how is it that when the pattern of ignorance and greed is growing, we have not done more to protect ourselves from our own protectors. We are the youth and we must start doing more than the drugs that ruin our homes.
     In order to really become active politically, socially, and economically, we must get involved with the existing groups that have been established to help our kind. Organizations such as The National Council Of La Raza, The Hispanic Caucus Association, and The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are good places to look for help with involvement. The internet is also a beneficial tool in finding ways to assist in bettering our homes, our city, and our country. Writing letters to government officials and local state administrators can help build the knowledge of our problems and concerns. As the future decision, and impact makers of the country, we must take steps now to make a different and better nation for our children and grandchildren.
      Leadership is one of the key elements missing in our lives today, and the only way to remedy the situation is to start putting the needs of others first in our lives in order to improve the quality of life for us all. Being a youth mentor is another way of contributing to bringing about changes for the future, because if we teach our children to care about making positive changes, most likely they will. Our focus must not only be to have strong families, but also to have a strong connection to all our fellow human beings, so that people will love each other as much as they love themselves. Young hispanics and latinos it is time to act, we have the opportunity now to make a tremendous difference in the lives of so many if we all contribute our time and really make our mark in history.

Works Cited

White Paper. May 18 2001
The 2000 Census. May 18, 20001

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