National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15 to recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and honor their heritage and culture.
Nowhere does the light of Hispanic pride shine brighter than in Inglewood. Unlike many other cities, the observation in Inglewood is more than symbolic. It is deeply meaningful and personal. With a population that represents nearly 50% of the city, Inglewood’s Hispanic population reaches into every sector of our community, including schools, businesses, churches, and government.
Last year, history was made when Alex Padilla was elected to the city council, becoming the first Hispanic councilmember for the Second District. Joining Eloy Morales, representation on the Inglewood City Council by Hispanic members now comprises two-fifths.
As a city increasing its notoriety, with a sizable Hispanic community, I am expecting a lot from this group. I am expecting many “firsts” to come out of Inglewood. Will Inglewood be the home of the first Hispanic U.S. President, or the first Hispanic astronaut to walk on the moon?
I would not be surprised at all. We are certainly off to a great start. Adding to the obvious economic progression of the city, is the racial diversity, so essential in fostering unique ideas and perspectives. Inglewood is in an enviable position, in that declining crime rates and increasing revenue does not usually occur in cities where the leadership and residents are predominantly people of color.
It speaks volumes. It discounts the nay-sayers that insist that African Americans and Latinos cannot get along. It dispels the myth that people in power cannot put their egos aside and do what is right for the city. In my experience, there has never been a more united council. The fact it is racially comprised of 3 black and 2 brown members is further evidence that race does not have to dictate how leaders lead.
The strides made by Hispanics in this country are inspired by the same basic needs and desires that other racial groups have—the desire for freedom, opportunity to live a decent life, enough prosperity to take care of their family and make the future better for their children.
This can only happen when people are open-minded enough to allow their neighbors the same opportunity to go for their dreams. There is plenty of room and opportunity in Inglewood for Latinos to shine, just as there is plenty of room for African Americans, Whites, Asians and others.