Saturday, May 18, 2024

Comentarios from Maria: Yes, There is Good News to Report


It felt as though this summer was filled with nothing but bad news. The situation in the Middle East has deteriorated, the Ebola virus outbreak threatens to turn into a new pandemic, but despite all of this, we should take a moment to remember all of the strides that have been made in favor of the Hispanic community, especially as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Since President Obama assumed office in 2009, he and his administration have fought and supported policies that benefit our community. Do you remember the tremendous hole the American economy was in back in 2009? What a sad time. Yet as a community and as a country, we endured and the president has supported projects that put our community to work, by investing federal resources for a better future with better jobs and a brighter outlook.

One of the most important laws the president was able to pass and establish was the Affordable Care Act of 2009. Thanks to that law:

  • 8 million Latinos with private insurance now have wider access to preventative services with no cost sharing
  • 913,000 of young Latinos ages 19 to 25 were able to stay on their parents’ health insurance
  • It is estimated that about 4.9 million Latina women with private health insurance now have guaranteed access to preventative women’s health services with no cost sharing

In terms of the economy, President Obama supported the latest initiative to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour. It is about time that all those people being exploited by their employers receive a fair wage with which they can support their families.  The president believes that anyone who has a full-time job should not be in poverty and that is why we must continue fighting for a minimum wage that pays $10.10 an hour.

The administration’s list of accomplishments that favor the Hispanic community is long.

  • President Obama has fought day after day to ensure that the right to vote is not violated as we have seen in certain parts of the country.
  • Expanding access to courts for people with limited proficiency in English.
  • Protecting the civil rights of all women, including women of color.
  • Establish policies that protect the environment, an issue that affects Latinos and especially our children.
  • Financing cultural and linguistic specific programs that help women of color who have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • Millions of our children are now going to college.

Despite these triumphs, there is still a lot to do and one of the most important things the president has done is to support and pressure Congress into passing fair and comprehensive immigration reform.  The president has already helped bring many of our children out of the shadows who simply wanted a better life in our country thanks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, but it is time to bring our entire community out of the shadows, so that they can also benefit from the immense opportunities this great country has to offer.

And so; Fuerza mi gente, there is good news to report! But the most important thing is to know that together we will always move forward.

This piece originally appeared in Spanish in the Washington Hispanic