Friday, October 28, 2011

Latinos Opening Doors

Did you know that by the year 2050, all minorities combined will represent more than 50% of the population of the United States?

Leaders in education and business are already thinking about the significant impact of this new minority-majority.
The growing Latino population is rapidly becoming a major player in the economic, political and social issues that will affect this country. Latinos are the largest and fastest growing minority group in this nation but have the lowest education attainment levels. To create a strong future and vital economy we have to get proactive and empower Latino children and youth for success through education and leadership programs.

During Latino Heritage Month I was energized to be part of a lively conversation focused on issues facing the Latino community as part of ¡Viva Fest! in San Jose, California.

Economics, education, immigration, family and politics were all discussed at the table. It's important to think about the achievements and challenges of the past few years.
I believe the answers we need will only come if we continue to open doors for young Latinos through education. We have to invest our energy and passion to reach them at a young age and assist and encourage them to complete their college education.

My own role models growing up were teachers, artists, writers and musicians.
They still are.
For three decades I've been a fan of Los Lobos because they are storytellers who remain true to their roots. Listening to their songs I am walking down their callejon in East L.A. I'm impressed with how David Hidalgo, Louis Perez and Los Lobos have successfully sent their authentic blend of music out to a much wider audience. They channel Latino spirit in a way that breaks down barriers and crosses borders. Their involvement with community issues and children is something I greatly admire. In 1995 I was lucky to paint the cd cover for Papa's Dream, the best selling record Los Lobos created with Lalo Guerrero for kids. Here's a favorite early video of Los Lobos performing on Sesame Street. It was incredible to re-connect and find out the band is still as passionate about children, family, community and education.

At ¡Viva Fest! the unforgettable concert by Los Lobos was followed by the energetic Tito Puente Jr. and the dynamic sounds of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Having just completed the illustrations for my sixth children's book My Name is Tito and the Latin Music Legends stamp for Tito Puente it was a great opportunity to give the original sketch for the stamp to his talented son Tito Puente Jr. I was ready to celebrate the cultural and musical legacy of El Rey de los Timbales and dance toda la noche.

1 comment:

  1. I love the music these guys make. The one and only time I have seen them live was in a little club in LA .. Great show, Los Lobos tickets were cheap and you should have seen how people crowd reacted. They cross boundaries for those who love good music.