Guest commentary: Beyond the hoopla of the celebrations

Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in our country. According to the U.S. Census, we make up 15 percent of the population in the United States and approximately 26 percent of the population here in the Southwest Florida area.

It seems like anywhere you look these days someone is celebrating something “Hispanic.” CNN and PBS launched important series exploring and depicting the Hispanic experience in the United States.

President Barack Obama hosted a “fiesta Latina” at the White House. Puerto Rican-American Sonia Sotomayor captured a significant share of the headlines this summer as she was confirmed by Congress to be the Supreme Court’s first justice of Hispanic descent.

All of this hoopla is on the heels of Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated from mid-September to mid-October.

Just as the immigrants who came through Ellis Island, Hispanics face the challenge to contribute to this great country, known as “the land of opportunity.” The Hispanic population must recognize the challenges and issues that not only affect the Hispanic community, but also the challenges faced by every citizen who shares and appreciates living in freedom.

The Hispanic community has given folklore, music, food and celebrations to our culture and has become an integral part of the American lifestyle including our favorite spectator sport, Major League Baseball. The American population will continue to learn more about our culture and we must maintain an open dialogue to better understand each other.

By the year 2050 the Hispanic population is projected to double and with that growth we also face responsibilities. We will be judged for the stewardship of the cities and communities in which we live in and for the compassion, understanding and respect we demonstrate for the issues important to others.

Sabina is executive editor of Vista Semanal, a Hispanic newspaper that is part of the Naples News Media Group.

© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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