The time to act as Hispanics and for Hispanics is now. Hispanic Heritage Month might end today, but the importance of this fundamental community continues 365 days a year. The dam is breaking and the water is leaking. It’s up to you to put your hands on the wall and push, to be a part of the change.
The official theme for this Hispanic Heritage Month was “a history of serving our nation.” And this is crucial because we have always been here serving and contributing. This next decade will be about Hispanics. I’m not saying this only as a proud Latina, but because I know it will happen.
And it’s not just our history. We’re here today.
There is something you can do to advance this community. Everyone has a role to play.
We are the people of America: nearly 61 million people comprising 18.1% of the current population. We are the future of America: By 2050, one quarter of the population will be Hispanic. We are the economic power: with Hispanic GDP at $2.6 trillion. We are the youth; our median age is 28 years: six years younger than the median in the country. We are the workforce of this country: comprising 74% of new workers and 40% of the U.S. workforce growth. We are the taxpayers and the voters: In 2020, 31.5 million Hispanics are eligible to vote. We are entrepreneurs and job creators: Since the great recession, 86% of all new jobs since the great recession have been created by Hispanics. Latinas create small businesses 6 times faster than any other group in America.
And we will continue to grow, succeed and increase these numbers because of our values. We believe in hard work. We have a deep commitment to our families. We are fighters. We know how to overcome difficult situations. We are optimistic.
We are all of these things—and yet.
I have been a marketer my entire life. In my experience, you highlight the best attributes of your product. For the Hispanic community, our best attributes are often hidden or downplayed, creating a misconception of our strength and importance to the U.S. We are underrepresented, misrepresented and undervalued. But why?
If you are a marketer like me, you look for data to provide answers. You should learn it, share it with teams and use it to inform strategies. In order to effectively target this important consumer base, you need to also have an authentic understanding of the community, which has a diverse background and unique value sets. It is important for brands and companies to be creating environments where Hispanics want to work.
There are three main insights I found that are fundamental for our community’s growth:
- 77% of Hispanics don’t know about their own contributions to the country.
- 76% of Hispanics have to pretend they’re someone they’re not in the workplace.
- 90% of Hispanics identify themselves as Hispanic but don’t act as a community.
We have taken action in response to these insights and will continue doing so. And I invite you all to do the same. There is something you can do to advance this community. Everyone has a role to play. We will get there—paso a pasito—if everyone of us takes even a small step at the time, we will get there.
Engage at the community level. Be part of a group of people from different industries and sectors that care for each other and want to create intentional networks of support. Make sure your company has signed the Hispanic Promise and supports Hispanics within and outside their walls. We are both the employees and consumers of America.
And lastly, if you’re Hispanic, allow yourself to shine. Take a look in the mirror. You’re strong and powerful. Believe it. Take a look at your industry and see your place at the top; aim high and stand up. Take someone with you. There is not only one seat at the table, because there is no table, just a country full of opportunities for all of us to shine.
America is made of stars, Hispanics are one of them. Together, we shine.