Groups Defend Latino Historic Landmarks in Texas / Public News Service

Every 30 seconds in the United States, a Latino citizen turns 18, and this is Latino Advocacy Week, the second annual initiative where community leaders champion causes supporting Latinos across the country.

This week, a series of events, meetings and webinars will be hosted by various community groups, nonprofits and elected officials across the country.

Jessica Godinez, conservation program manager for the Hispanic Access Foundation, said her organization champions issues such as education, environmental justice and voting rights.

“Our hope is to really provide our community with the resources and training to take the lead in their own advocacy,” Godinez explained.

In 2020, Godinez pointed out that there were 32 million Hispanic-identified voters in the United States. More than half of the country’s population growth comes from the Hispanic community.

From 2016 to 2020, Latino voter turnout tripled. Godinez noted that Latinos make up 18% of the population, but only make up 1% of elected officials.

“We are motivated after the 2020 election where Latino voter turnout in battleground states was three times higher than in 2016,” Godinez remarked.

According to the Hispanic Access Foundation, Latinos represent the largest untapped segment of the population when it comes to civic engagement and political potential.

A push this year in Texas is to recognize historic sites important to the Latino community as national monuments.

Moses Borjas, pastor of the Living Covenant Church in El Paso, strongly supports the preservation of historic culture and hopes President Joe Biden will proclaim the Castner Range a national monument.

“Keeping our lands open to involve people in trails and mountain climbing,” Borjas stressed. “It’s going to help our mental health, it’s going to help our spiritual side, it’s going to help our emotional side.”

The Castner Range is a sight to behold, Borjas argues, home to special wildlife, plants and herbs. The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the President to protect areas of historical or scientific significance.

Disclosure: Hispanic Access Foundation contributes to our fund for education, environmental, health issues, and social justice reporting. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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