WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today released the following statement in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15.
“This month, we especially celebrate and honor the Hispanic and Latino community for its culture, history, and indelible contributions to our country. Maryland has a vibrant Latino community of more than 550,000 residents, who play vital roles throughout our communities, such as teachers, health care heroes, essential workers, small business owners, and so many who are undeniably important to the makeup of Maryland.
“For the second year in a row, we are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month during a pandemic. COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on the American Latino community in terms of cases and severity. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Hispanic/Latino persons are nearly twice as likely to be infected with COVID-19, 2.8 times more likely to be hospitalized and 2.3 times more likely to die compared to white, non-Hispanic persons. This disparity is shocking, but not surprising. We must fully commit to breaking down the systemic obstacles to health care that have contributed to diminished access to care and higher rates of chronic disease for the Hispanic and Latino communities and other communities of color.
“The pandemic has taken a financial toll on the Hispanic community as well, deepening long-standing economic disparities. Thanks to President Biden’s Build Back Better plan and legislation passed by Democrats in Congress, the current unemployment rate for Latinos has dropped to 6.4 percent, which is a huge improvement from the start of the pandemic, when the rate peaked at 18.9 percent. It still does not match the economic rebound that white Americans have experienced. We have more work ahead.
“The United States stands for equality, prosperity, and justice for all. We continue to work to make these ideals reality. As a nation of immigrants, we must stay committed to making the American Dream attainable, including increasing access to affordable health care and housing, closing the wage gap, and enacting a reasonable and compassionate immigration system.
“During Hispanic Heritage Month and year-round, I join all Marylanders in recognizing the tremendous impact the Latino community has made on our state and our country.”