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From the Economy to Education, Latinas Care About a Diverse Set of Issues this Election Season

Friday, October 31, 2008

By Ingrid Duran & Catherine Pino, Co-Founders D&P Creative Strategies

It has been fascinating to watch, and participate in, the presidential election cycle and to hear all the political pundits talk about the Latino community and what is or isn’t important to us as though they are the experts, even though they themselves may not be Latino. How can they even begin to understand our experience?

Latinos make up 8.9% of the eligible electorate, and Latinas make up 50.8% of Hispanics eligible to vote. Hispanic women have been mobilized to participate in this election cycle like never before. We have seen them volunteering for campaigns, making calls, walking precincts and helping with fundraising.

There is a myth that the only issue of importance to Latinas is immigration. It is true that this is indeed an important issue and one that we strongly believe should be addressed in a comprehensive way.

However, as Latina small business owners, part of the fastest-growing segment of business owners in this country, we care about other issues as well. During these economic times, Latinas are extremely are concerned about the global crisis, the frozen credit markets and a loss of confidence in the world’s financial systems. We worry how the bailout of Wall Street will or will not help the economy and what will be its impact on our business and our families. We wonder if the infusion of funds into the American banking system will restore confidence in lending and what all this will mean for the future.

Will we lose most or all of our retirement savings? What about the state of our education system and the ability of our children to be competitive with their counterparts? Will they be given the same opportunities to compete, attend college and succeed in the workforce, or will they continue to receive substandard education because they live in poor school districts that cannot afford the basic tools, like new textbooks and state-of-the-art computers, necessary to compete with students attending better-equipped schools?

We also care about many other issues including the rising costs of health care, the housing crisis, the cost of living, education and the environment.

We are deeply concerned about what the future of this country will hold for us, our parents, our siblings and our children. Like other Americans, our parents have worked their entire lives paying into the social security system. Will it be bankrupt when they need it? What about the rising costs of health care? If something terrible happens to the people we love, will they be able to afford treatments, surgery and other care? Will they be able to afford caretakers or assisted living once they reach an age where they are no longer able to care for themselves?

So much is at stake this election and the contrast between the candidates of both parties is so great we believe this election is the most important of our lifetime.

The US census bureau has predicted that by 2050, Hispanics will make up 29% of the US population, and that tells us that we as a country need to do better to prepare the next generation of all US children, including Hispanic children, who will be the next generation of leaders.

Latinos, like all Americans, wonder where this country is headed and what the future holds for all Americans. This election is too important to sit on the sidelines and not participate. There is too much at stake for all of us.

Ingrid Duran & Catherine Pino are Co-Founders, D&P Creative Strategies, LLC

D&P Creative Strategies is a boutique consulting firm based in Washington, DC that focuses on government relations and philanthropic advising. Duran and Pino are also alumnae of the National Hispana Leadership Institute’s Executive Training Program.

Ingrid and Catherine can be reached at;

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