For many members of the Latino community, this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month seems to come at a bittersweet time. It started last Friday — just days after Trump announced his intentions to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), the program for deportation relief that has helped hundreds of thousands of young immigrants stay in school and gain meaningful employment.
On top of that, many members of the community are still angered over Trump’s pardoning of infamous, convicted sheriff Joe Arpaio, who harassed and arrested countless Latinos that merely “looked” to be residing in the country illegally.
More than a quarter of all Americans and two out of every three older Americans have multiple chronic conditions, and treatment for this population accounts for 66% of the country’s health care budget. Consequently, despite the fact that Latino enrollment in Obamacare was higher than any other ethnic group, the administration has been cutting the funds necessary for organizations to help Hispanics receive healthcare.
Perhaps these actions are the reasons Trump did not get an invite to the annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations in Washington D.C. — the first time in 40 years that a president was not invited, according to NBC News.
“This is the part of the program when we usually hear from the president of the United States. He wasn’t invited. I think you know why,” said Rep. Joaquín Castro, D-Texas, chairman of the CHCI (Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute), to those who attended Wednesday’s gala.
Next month, the Hispanic 100 Foundation gala is being held in California and will feature administration members. In the meantime, NBC reached out to Latinos “across the ideological spectrum” to hear some opinions about what’s worth celebrating.
“We can focus on the attacks, but I think it’s to our detriment,” said Laura Esquivel, director of national advocacy for the Hispanic Federation. “We have to fight them. It would be too sad if I succumbed to the belief that this is how the majority of the country feels about this community.”
Esquivel also made note that “Dolores,” a film about civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, would be opening in Washington D.C. the same weekend.
“This is exactly what we need right now, to see this film and be reminded that we can win and that we do it by organizing and talking to people and never giving up,” said Esquivel.
“Despite many tough issues for the Latino community today, there are still many things to celebrate,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro. “The Latino community is growing and thriving and is in many new parts of the country.”