Hispanics Are Keeping the American Dream Alive—Listen to Their Voices

Reflect on unconscious bias and how to empower the next generation

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Just over 25 years ago—a generation ago—Hispanic Heritage Month was signed into law as an official time to celebrate the culture and contributions of the U.S. Hispanic community. A lot of progress has been logged since then, but our journey to be seen, heard and valued isn’t over yet.

This generation is at a turning point. We have all the conditions to succeed, we just need to act on them.

The engine of growth in the U.S.

Seven years ago, I came to New York from Europe. It is not unusual in Europe to speak multiple languages and come from different countries, but after some months here, I noticed a change in my behavior.

I was sometimes, even subconsciously, hiding my Latinidad or beginning to instinctively know when it would not serve me to be myself. But if you look at the data, that doesn’t make sense—Hispanics are the largest, youngest and most profitable cohort in the country. The recently released Census data tells a story that we don’t always hear: Hispanics are keeping the American dream alive.

Hispanics not only believe in it, but they are fueling it. They’re outpacing other groups in getting college and graduate degrees; they are taking higher-skilled jobs, starting businesses and buying homes.

States with a higher density of Hispanics do better than states with lower Hispanic populations in terms of homeownership, aggregate income and civilian workforce. The new data also smashes stereotypes: 80% of Hispanics are U.S. citizens and English speakers.

All this data tells a consistent story: Hispanics are critical to corporate America, the economy and are the engine of growth in the United States.

Listen to their stories

Over the next few weeks, you will hear from different voices in the community in a weekly series titled “Hispanic and Latin American Voices in Adweek” that will touch on key issues and opportunities.

The Hispanic community is already what America is becoming: diverse and multiracial. Hispanics feel as much American as they do Hispanic. The differences are enriching, though they have historically fragmented the community. It’s important to remember things in common can often be unifying and empowering.

You will also read about the difficulties Hispanics still face in the workplace. Hispanics—both immigrants and U.S.-born—still struggle at work because they don’t have the support, allies and mentors they need. Ironically, the more Hispanics rise through the ranks, the lonelier it gets due to their low numbers.

There is a solution to representation: hire more Hispanics, support them, promote them.

There is a genuine movement toward creating inclusive and supportive workplaces. Real policies create real change. There is a solution to representation: hire more Hispanics, support them, promote them.

Not all of the change has to come from others. The community can do more, too. Be better at extending a hand to pull others up with you. Be a mentor, share your experience, open doors. Get better at using your voice. And, above all, unify. There is strength in numbers.

In this series, you will also read about marketing to Hispanics. Many smart companies understand the potential economic power of the Hispanic community. The truth is, if you don’t already have a corporate strategy for reaching the Hispanic market, guided by a real understanding of local markets and cultural nuances, you are not paying attention to where economic growth and spending power are surging. Now is the time to really ramp up.

Nurture the relationship with Hispanics beyond crises

One final message for marketers and other leaders of corporations: The Hispanic community often feels your generosity when there is a crisis, disaster or tragedy. But past the peak of the problem, the attention recedes.

This happens not because there isn’t interest and goodwill, but because that crisis has been resolved. What results is that companies lose their presence and visibility in the community.

Build relationships that are proactive, not reactive. Don’t wait for difficult times to extend a hand in partnership. There are plenty of ways for companies to make a positive difference in people’s lives on an ongoing basis. It will do more than uplift this community; it is an investment in your future and all of America’s.

Hispanic and Latin American Voices in Adweek gives us much to think about and act on. Enjoy their energy, the insights and the ideas. They are writing the next chapter. Let’s support them and watch them succeed.

This special series will be continually updated through Hispanic Heritage Month. Click the images below to read each Voice piece.

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Financial Success Is Not Enough for Latinx-Founded Companies

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Elias Torres, co-founder and chief technology officer of Drift, one of the only Latinx-founded tech companies to ever achieve unicorn status, shares an important message for Latinx entrepreneurs.

The Curious Case of Puerto Rico Within the Marketing Landscape

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Creative strategy consultant Michael León-Rivera spotlights how the U.S. territory “occupies a unique middle ground” between “two distinct worlds” as both a “gateway to Latin America” and “the gateway to the U.S.”

You Sponsored My Visa, but Do You Really Want Me to Stay?

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Campbell Ewald US chief creative officer Silmo Bonomi provides food for thought as he dives into the immigrant experience in adland and how a clear plan of development and support is not only important—it’s critical.

A Letter to the Next Generation of Latinx Marketers: Don’t Dim to Fit In

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Latina executive Tatiana Quaife shares an inspiring letter to the next wave of Latinx marketers on breaking the mold of corporate America and unleash the magic within.