WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) released the following statement on Hispanic Heritage Month 2020, celebrated September 15 – October 15.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to recognize the culture and contributions of Latinos in the story of America. Since the founding of this nation, Latinos have helped to shape the social, cultural, and economic fabric that weaves together the world we know today. More than 500,000 Latinos live in Maryland — as entrepreneurs, students, community leaders, essential workers and so much more, their impact and achievements can be felt from the Eastern Shore to Western Maryland.
“This year we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in the midst of a global pandemic, economic crisis, and a rise in xenophobia and hate, all of which have hit Latino communities nationwide especially hard. COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on Latinos and communities of color, has laid bare glaring and long-standing racial and ethnic disparities in health care and socioeconomic opportunity. Despite comprising 10% of the State’s population, Latinos in Marylanders make up nearly 31% of positive COVID-19 cases. As essential workers, teachers and health care heroes, Latinos account for 21% of the front line workforce putting their lives at risk to keep our nation safe and running.
“We cannot celebrate the richness Hispanic heritage without recognizing the challenges that many Latinos face in today’s political, social and economic landscape. Our celebration of the Latino community must continue month after month with a commitment to breaking down the barriers standing in the way of their success and opportunity. We must continue to combat the Trump administration’s hateful anti-immigrant agenda – including challenges to DACA and TPS and the ongoing family separation policies – that leaves individuals and families in uncertainty and peril. We must fight to ensure that Latinos get counted in the 2020 Census as the administration seeks to undermine their voice and representation in our society and in the ballot box. And we must work to close gaps in wages, economic opportunity, and health care access to ensure that the American dream is attainable for all.
“This is an incredible time to reflect on contributions of the Latino community in our history and present. It is also time to take up meaningful action to lay the groundwork for progress, equality and justice for our future. Let us all proudly stand up for and celebrate our Latino communities this Hispanic Heritage Month.”