Hispanic Heritage Month:
A Call to Get Conscious
Hispanic heritage month is a celebration of a diverse array of peoples and their achievements in the United States. For some, it means sharing the excitement of a wide array of communities whose presence and power in the United States continues to grow. For others, perhaps this recognition and the many events and activities that are part of it presents an opportunity to learn and expand your own social, cultural and economic networks.
The US Census Bureau says the term “Hispanic” includes “Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean” and the month dedicated to this heritage celebrates all the contributions they have made to “American society and culture.”
People who identify with this term or a wide array of other terms like Latinx, Latino or others associated with their families’ places of origin in the US and abroad have enormous influence in politics, technology, finance, on social issues, in sports, fashion, in media and in business. Four out of five Latinx Americans are US Citizens, 71% are proficient English speakers and 32 million are eligible to vote.
Latinx businesses contribute to local and regional economies, create jobs and offer outstanding products and services.
The businesses created by so-called Hispanic Americans, Latino or Latinx Americans are as diverse, vibrant and ambitious as the people who identify with these labels.
Cyber-security consulting? Digital design? Fashion? Mobile phone technology? Candles? Jewelry? Engineering? Fine dining? Snack food? Neighborhood stores? Construction? Real Estate? Car repair? You name it, Latinx entrepreneurs are doing it. Inventing products and services, delivering value and creating jobs.
According to the non-profit Support Latino Business, “Latino entrepreneurs are starting businesses faster than any other group, driving $700 billion into the U.S. economy annually.”
So with all that success, why is it so critical to be “conscious” of Latin-owned businesses when making spending decisions for our businesses and families?
First, no matter how many success stories are told by the entrepreneurship and creativity that is so clearly happening nation-wide, there continues to be a massive wealth gap in the United States, whereby recent data published by the Federal Reserve Bank showed “Hispanic families’ median and mean net worth was $20,700 and $191,200, respectively, ” according the Federal Reserve Bank, while for white families, median and mean family wealth are $171,000 and $933,700.
Barriers to home ownership and educational advancement which offer America’s fastest routes to sustainable wealth creation have been well documented. A rise in nativist, hateful rhetoric and demonization of Hispanic, Latino, Latinx people has been well documented and has exacerbated social isolation.
And then, the pandemic.
On top of an already fragile situation came COVID-19, bringing disproportionate risk, danger, sickness, and even loss of life to Hispanic and Latinx communities across the US.
And the virus brought a higher level of economic destruction as well. Again, from Support Latino Business: “Xiomara Peña, Vice President of the non-profit advocacy group Small Business Majority says, “Despite their strong influence in our small business community, Latino entrepreneurs in particular have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 while struggling to access federal relief programs.
This is why it’s important now more than ever to recognize the contributions and needs of Latino-owned businesses.”
“That has been our experience so far. In biotech, construction, professional services and beyond there is an awakening to the importance of reaching out and being more inclusive, and the value a company can get by putting their money where their message is.
We are celebrating the greatness of truly excellent businesses and building a better future for everyone involved,”
says Conscious Customers co-founder Gloria Porras-Velasquez.
Don’t let Hispanic Heritage Month go by without learning something new and making a plan to get more active in engaging people and businesses that have something valuable to share with you. Get active. Get Conscious.
Conscious Customers™ helps companies and organizations be more inclusive by putting Black and Latin-owned businesses at the center of their spending and engaging their employees in doing the same at home. Reach out for more information at [email protected].