Per the US Census there are 57 Million Hispanics- Today, one in 6 people in the United States is Latino. 1 in four kindergarteners TODAY is Hispanic-We are tremendous force.
Everyone wants us to buy their products and services.
Everyone wants our vote.
Everyone wants us.
But we don’t vote.
We don’t express our opinions.
Yet, we don’t use our power and influence.
Generally speaking, Hospitals don’t know how important our religion, value and culture is to our care. Restaurants don’t understand our palate. Clothing stores don’t carry clothing accommodating to our curves and body type. Banks don’t have bilingual staff to help with our financial needs. Cosmetic companies don’t realize we have different skin and different color preferences… In short, they don’t know our likes. BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT EXPRESSED OUR OPINIONS.
We assume that we can assimilate. Settle. Accept whatever is offered and be ok.
There are companies whose sole job is to discover our likes, preferences and opinions. They need to hear your voice, your experiences; understand how you to think, what matters to you. What motivates you to make purchasing decisions. How to engage you.
These are research companies who are hired by corporations like Coca-cola, Apple, and Toyota to conduct interviews, focus groups, conversations to collect this very important information about customer’s opinions. In turn, the collected information is used to create better products and services to serve the market better.
Typically, you get compensated for your time- whether a cash payment, $25-$100. All dependant on the product, service or need of the organization. Sometimes you are compensated with a gift card.
Of course there are scams! You need to review the source, the advertisement to ensure this research company is legitimate like EurekaFacts or Observation Baltimore.
But more importantly- you need to participate if your schedule permits and you qualify. Why? Because, as Latinos, we are not using our voice. We are not using our power and influence.
This similar issue is surfacing in the Political scene. We, as Latinos need to participate in these MAJOR WAYS:
- Register to vote, and then ACTUALLY VOTE in EVERY ELECTION!
- Get Educated and Informed on the Issues that matter, from Immigration to healthcare to jobs and Education.
- Make financial contributions to political candidates that represent your values and support your community. I personally support Joseline Pena Melnyk, Ana Sol Guitierrez and others. And by financial contributions, I mean write checks. $50, $100, $1000. Whatever you can afford.
This is a contribution to your future, your neighborhood and community because when we support people that support us, WE win.
- Run for Political Office- if you are not happy with the way your community or the country is doing, do something about it. Run for office, such as City Council, Board of Education, Congress or any level where you can have impact.
Right now, Donald Trump is the leading Republican candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America. Trump is balancing his sensationalized commentary and unfiltered behavior with his business success, and has alienated an entire population. Yet he remains the leading Republican candidate… He is extremely well-funded, and as such, will most likely advance to the primaries.
This allocation determines access and political influence to potential future leaders; access that is severely restricted to women and minorities, event before the leader has been elected. Participating in the political system through financial contributions of candidates is tool to further advance access and advocacy. Simply put, without putting our money where our mouths are, our issues are not championed.
Latinos have arrived to this political dance a little late, we are still learning the rules and whether there’s any real impact to our involvement. Political representation defined by diverse elected officials, campaigns and contributions, are legitimate tools for advocacy and policy making that are not leverage by minorities and women.
The key is converting a higher portion of these minority populations into active and engaged political participants. Certainly not an easy feat, but a challenge that shall make 2016 a very interesting election year.
Get involved, Amigos, use your voice, create power and influence to improve our community.