WHAT IS HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH AND WHEN EXACTLY IS IT?

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THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Caesar Chavez, Migrant Workers Union Leader, 07/1972 Photo by: flickr

About National Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Entertainment: Vocalist Joan Baez. A sign hanging near the microphones reads "We Shall Overcome." ], 08/28/1963 photo by flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/usnationalarchives/6053190883/in/set-72157627456510830/Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Entertainment: Vocalist Joan Baez. A sign hanging near the microphones reads "We Shall Overcome." ], 08/28/1963 photo by flickr

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

Photograph of the portrait of Jose de San Martin hanging on the wall in the Oval Office of the White House, directly over a small equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson., 11/05/1946 photo by flickr

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

To find out more about Hispanic Heritage Month visit the government website at http://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/

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WHO IS RAUL LABRADOR: THE CONSERVATIVE CONGRESSMAN AND FORMER IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY

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THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

For all the continual bumps in the road, the GOP is doing what it can to make inroads in the Hispanic community.  But while it seems like everyone left, right, and center has heard of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Congressman Raul Labrador (R-ID), fellow member of the class of 2010, has been behind the scenes advancing a strong conservative agenda in the House of Representatives. While Congressman Labrador has appeared on the Sunday shows a number of times, and was even a speaker at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., he has not received the same attention from media circles as his colleague in the Senate, despite the accolades from the right. He recently obtained a 100% rating from the Club for Growth and previously from Americans for Prosperity, two well established conservative organizations. In addition, he made recent news for putting his money where his mouth is regarding fiscal responsibility, returning21% of his office budget to to pay down the national debt.

Born and raised by a single mother in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Rep. Labrador first moved to the United States in 1981 at the age of 13, but not to the usual locations of New York or Florida. A friend of his mother’s suggested Las Vegas, Nevadawhich at the time experienced an economic boom. He later graduated from Brigham Young University (where he met his wife, Rebecca) and received his law degree from the University of Washington.

So how did Congressman Labrador find himself becoming a conservative standard bearer?

Labrador’s mother was heavily involved in Puerto Rican politics, describing her as a Democrat and strong admirer of the Kennedys. “But when we moved to Las Vegas, one of the first things [my mother] did after getting a job was getting registered to vote,” says Labrador in an interview with Politic365. “And in Las Vegas, Nevada you had to register by party, and she decided to register as a Republican, which was shocking to me!”

Labrador’s mother was one of those famed “Reagan Democrats,” excited about voting for Reagan in the next primary.

It was from there that Labrador discovered Ronald Reagan, the values and principles he held, discovering the same principles Reagan held aligned with those taught at home. His mother taught him to not rely on the government, to work hard, and be successful in whatever path he chose to take, and the GOP was the party who advocated these same principles. But despite Congressman Labrador’s virtually perfect backstory for a political candidate, like Marco Rubio he had to achieve victory over the GOP Establishment by winning the 2010 primary in an upset. “I went back to the old Reagan coalition,” Labrador explained when asked how he won over the primary voters, “and I talked to all of them about exactly how the Republican Party should be. I believed the Republican Party has kinda lost its way for awhile, sometimes we are good at espousing conservative principles, but not at living them.” Like many other Tea Party candidates in 2010, Labrador’s message of bringing honest conservative principles back to the GOP and a willingness to go against the wishes of the establishment propelled him to victory as a freshman member of Congress.

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) speaks at a Tea Party rally March 31, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. The group says it is "challenging Congress and the members it helped sweep into power to take swift action on the budget." (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

 A Look at the Federal Tax Code

Coming into 2012, Congressman Labrador is hoping major progress can be made towards making the current federal tax code make sense. “When you talk to Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, they’re all frustrated with the current tax code that we have.” He lamented the current tax code as one that picks winners and losers, and places the blame on both parties favoring their own special interests when altering the code, leaving the middle class to suffer the burden. He believes in a flat and fair code in which everyone should pay something, from the 40-45% of American wage-earners who pay no federal income taxes, to corporations like General Electric who takes advantage of directed tax subsidies and loopholes, and can afford the accountants, lobbyists, and lawyers to obtain them. “That’s not what makes America great.”

Immigration Reform

On the tepid relationship between Hispanics and the GOP, and in particular the issue of immigration reform, Labrador’s experience as an immigration attorney gives him a unique measure of credibility on the issue. Labrador’s biggest piece of advice to Republicans: let Hispanics know that they are welcome in the party – Hispanic principles of family and hard work form the bedrock of the GOP’s platform. He argues rhetoric from some in the Republican Party has turned off many in the Hispanic community. “We can be for a strong border, but we can also be for legal immigration and finding a system that actually works in the United States, and I think most people are frustrated with the current system of immigration.” Labrador said his goal is to help the GOP articulate a conservative consensus on legal immigration.

A Rising Star

photo source AP

From taxes, to the debt crisis, to the issues of life and entitlements, Labrador has the record to make any conservative stand up and cheer. But, a unique background mixed with an ability to become a conservative conduit to Hispanics on immigration sets him apart from the other Tea Party freshmen in Congress. If he is not already a rising star in the Republican Party, many believe he should be.

READ MORE: POLITIC 365

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ARE LATINOS A “SLEEPING GIANT?”

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THE HISPANIC BLOG NY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Mainstream media and politicians have sold Latinos short for decades. (Flickr: Beverly & Pack)

I can remember back to 1980 when President Carter was running for reelection against a list of Republican candidates, including Ronald Reagan. Ruben Bonilla, the then-National President of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) was being encouraged to endorse the president’s campaign. He backed Carter, but Reagan went on to win easily.

This common, apparently benign scenario, has played out for decades but it’s representative of the underlying problem when it comes to how media and politicians treat Latinos.
From 1980 to the mid-1990s, Latino voters were always referred to as the “sleeping giant.” Our population growth has constantly risen at a rapid pace, thus many in politics and the media have recognized the potential political strength of the Latino community and politicians desired the endorsements of top Latino officials.

But at the same time, the disturbing reality is that we have not yet realized that potential at the ballot box. We continue to have a very young population and we have experienced a great deal of obstacles to voting because of state and local barriers. Instead of addressing these issues head on, politicians and the media have just rolled with the punches. Presidential candidates have made lightweight political overtures to Latinos in nearly every election. And the media only gives scant coverage to Latino issues.

How did this happen?

Every four years, beginning in 1980, I would read the traditional “sleeping giant” article in virtually every major newspaper in the country. It was telling that in non-election years, most media in those days seldom focused much attention on Latino politics or policy concerns. Despite our population growth and political aspirations, one would seldom see a Latino or Latina on any of the established political talk shows, such as Meet the Press. Heck, we were overjoyed if we were simply able to make the nightly news on ABC, CBS, or NBC.

Then, the Spanish International Network (SIN) opened its Washington, D.C. office and we were as close to media nirvana we would ever get. SIN would cover the work of Latinos in D.C. and throughout the nation. SIN would become Univision and through those years, the every-four-year syndrome on the “sleeping giant” changed. We began to see more articles and attention, but at the same time there was little depth and dimension to this coverage. We still weren’t at the tables of the evening news and we didn’t have many Latino reporters, but at least the frequency of attention was growing.

Over the last fifteen years, Univision has become a major player in U.S. media and has helped draw attention to Latino and Latino issues in this country. However, it appears one of the downsides of this development has been that the English-language media has abdicated coverage of Latinos to Latino-centric outlets.

Mainstream media spouts their hypocritical interest in the “Latino vote” and community interests. But they have become quite adept at having non-Latinos speak for Latinos on issues that “you have to be there” in order to provide an honest and informed perspective. But what’s the problem? They mention us, they eat our food, some of the their best friends are Latino, and after all they know our concerns better than we do.

I asked a distinguished Latino journalist recently why the media was completely ignoring Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich campaigns and their outreach to the Latino community since Florida. Despite the caucuses in Nevada and Colorado, and the Arizona primary coming up next week, there was no discussion of how Latinos were being courted or ignored by the campaigns.

The journalist responded that the media’s assumption is that, in a GOP primary, the lion’s share of Latino voters will come out of Florida, where Cuban-Americans live, and not elsewhere. The media thinks Latino Republicans and their minds doesn’t leap to Colorado, Arizona, or New Mexico — even though these states could play a decisive role in the primary and general elections.

With the largest number of Latinos in history expected to vote in 2012 and the constant questions about the importance of the Latino vote during the past 19 Republican presidential candidate debates, one would have thought that, this time around, the interest would be more intense.

Read More: http://univisionnews.tumblr.com/post/18024024761/opinion-notion-of-latino-sleeping-giant-has-pitfalls

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SUBSCRIBE to The Hispanic Blog and stay on top of the latest Latino news, politics and entertainment!

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If you have any questions, concerns or simply would like to get a quote on my Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media and/or Events services, please feel free to contact me at thehispanicblog@gmail.com.

God Bless and may you have a fabulous day!

powered by Influential Access – “Transforming the Ordinary to EXTRAordinary!” – CEO – Jessica Marie Gutierrez – Creator of The Hispanic Blog #thehispanicblog

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