Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued the following statement today in observance of Hispanic Heritage Month, which is observed from September 15 to October 15:
"As a proud member of the Tri-Caucus -- the coalition of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and the Asian Pacific American Caucus -- it is my honor to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month and its importance to our nation."
"I have the privilege of serving a thriving and engaged Latino community in my 9th Congressional District and have been able to witness firsthand their record of achievement in every facet of our richly diverse community. For generations, Hispanic American intellectuals, writers, artists, workers, activists, teachers, entrepreneurs, and leaders have enriched my district and our nation as they worked to achieve the American dream."
"While Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and honor the numerous contributions of Latinos in the United States, it is also a time to reflect on the struggles and hardship the community continues to face. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 6.1 million, or 35% of all Latino children, were living in poverty. These tragic numbers demonstrate the need to continue building our economy and helping the vulnerable who are working hard to realize the American dream."
"Unfortunately the economy is not the Latino community's only concern. Many Latinos experience intolerance, racism, and discrimination, whether they were born here, are legal permanent residents or American citizens, or are undocumented. "
"Additionally, others face a flawed immigration system that is slow, insensitive, and broken. For this reason, I applauded President Obama's decision to grant deferred action to children that came here through no fault of their own. While I will continue advocating for the passage of the DREAM Act, I believe this is a step in the right direction meant to strengthen our country and provide these hard working individuals with the resources they need to become the next generation of leaders, teachers, scientists, and service members among other things. These young people have succeeded and will continue to succeed because of their tireless work ethic and passionate love for our country and we should be working to lift them up, not tear them down."
"During this Hispanic Heritage Month let us reflect with appreciation the contributions that Latinos have made to our country and together extend our commitment to improve our communities, lift more of the vulnerable out of poverty, and invest in all of our children to empower a diverse generation that will be the next leaders of our country."