Friday, April 19, 2024

Obama’s Second Inauguration Includes More Latino Presence and Priority

Obama Inaugural Speech
Yesterday, thousands of people watched President Obama take the second oath for his Inauguration Ceremony in Washington, DC, where he strongly acknowledged the diverse groups of people that helped him win his second term.

President Obama’s Inauguration was also historical for its Latino presence: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor swore in Vice President Joe Biden; Cuban-American Richard Blanco – who is also the youngest and first gay artist to do so – wrote and delivered the Inaugural Poem, and Cuban-American Episcopal priest Luis Leon blessed the nation in English and Spanish.

During his Inaugural speech, President Obama mentioned the “need to work for equal pay for women, equality for gay families, a defense of voting rights, and the need to tackle immigration.”

“The speech that [President Obama] gave was far more inclusive and inspirational than I thought it would be,” says Jessica Priego, owner of JPriego Communications in Chicago, Illinois, who attended the inaugural activities. “He did touch on immigration and working together, so I’m pretty excited to see what happens now.”

Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Political Scientist and NBC Latino contributor, says that she sees a difference in this second term already.

“Without re-election, Obama can say, ‘no me importa, I’m going to do it,’ and pursue certain issues; there is a freedom that comes with that,” says Soto.

“Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country,” said President Obama in his inauguration speech.

Many people, like Andres Lopez, Co-Chair of the Futuro Fund, says that the President needs to ensure Latino issues get top priority.

“The first thing is to make sure Latinos have a permanent seat at the table, which they have earned,” says Lopez. “Latinos need to be included in the discussions of every fundamental issue we are facing – education, health care, jobs and economic growth.”

However, Latino Decisions Political Scientist Sylvia Manzano says President Obama has more support this time around.

“There are growing coalitions such as religious groups, unions, advocacy groups, as well as organized money, such as the US Chamber of Commerce, and agribusiness interests, and there is a lot to be said for that,” says Manzano.

“Latinos just celebrated their historic achievement in the election this weekend,” says Lopez. “We need to work just as hard over the next four years to make sure we make real gains.”

NBC Latino