WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month. From now until October 15, we celebrate the cultures and heritage of Hispanic and Latinx Americans as well as the countless achievements these communities have made throughout history.
NOW honors activists like Dolores Huerta, the civil rights and labor movement pioneer who co-founded the National Farmworkers Association in the 1960s, working tirelessly to make certain that U.S. farmworkers received labor rights. We also honor Sylvia Rivera, the East Coast transgender activist who was demonstrating around this same time in the name of Queer Liberation. From Felicitas Mendez, the civil rights activist who took on the board of education in the name of desegregation, to history–makers like Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, the contributions Hispanic and Latinx women have made in the name of feminism and equal rights are immeasurable.
This Hispanic Heritage month, we must also recognize COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on the Latinx community. Various studies have revealed that Latinas are hit the hardest from an economic standpoint, especially those working in leisure and hospitality, retail, manufacturing, and professional and business services. The unemployment rate for Latinas jumped from 5 percent to over 20 percent between February and April alone. And as the pandemic persists, we also must thank the nearly 5 million Latinx workers continuing to hold up the frontlines in healthcare, grocery stores, public transit, childcare and education, and the trucking and postal services.
Ahead of Latina Equal Pay Day later this year, we know that Latinas are already subjected to one of the largest deficits within the gender pay gap, making just $.57 to white men’s dollar. Now more than ever, the gender pay gap must be closed, and we must work harder towards a future that boasts equal rights for all Latinx people in the United States.
This election year, the Latinx community makes up over 13 percent of all eligible voters. After four years of rampant anti-Latinx and anti-immigrant sentiments within the Trump administration, it’s time to change the narrative. NOW celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and will continue advocating for the Latinx community by mobilizing to elect an administration that will support, champion, and celebrate the Latinx community all year round.