In the U.S., Cinco de Mayo has taken on a significance beyond that in Mexico and the date is best recognized in the United States as a date to celebrate our culture and experiences of Americans of Mexican ancestry.
Latinos have had a profound and positive influence on our country through their commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.
Through the years, Latin Americans have played an integral role in our Nation’s success in science, the arts, business, military service, government, and every other field of endeavor and their talent, creativity, and achievement continue to energize our national life.
The United States is a melting pot of a country made of and made for immigrants. But the Latinos have been in this area for thousands of years. And to say our culture has little impact on our community, would be a major understatement.
Tucson was declared a City of Gastronomy by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and El Guero Canelo, with their Sonoran Hot Dog, won the prestigious James Beard Award for gastronomy.
With more than 50 million Latinos across the United States, Latinos now make up the largest minority group and represent billions in buying power.
I have worked to give the Latino community more economic opportunities by creating more than 10,000 jobs since taking office as your Ward 5 Councilmember. Raytheon, Costco, Walmart, GEICO, VXI Tucson, Alorica Pharmaceutical, Curacao, HomeGoods Distribution Center, FedEx Ground, Century Mark 14 Theatre, Lins Grand Buffet, Modular Mining, Centene, Vanguard and Shared Services are just some of the companies who have opened new businesses or expanded operations in Ward 5.
Latinos also represent the fastest-growing segment of the American electorate. In Arizona, Raul Castro served as our first Latino Governor in the 1970s. In 1991, Ed Pastor was the first Latino elected to represent Arizona in the U.S. Congress and today there are two Latinos in Congress representing Arizona: Raul Grijalva and Ruben Gallego. In 2019, Tucson elected Regina Romero, its first Latina Mayor in its 144-year history.
We must remember during this time, our community’s health and safety must come first.
We are all eager to begin gradually re-opening our economy, however, we must do so in a manner that is safe and consistent with the advice of public health experts.
It is critical that a phased-in approach follows the guidelines established by the CDC, and locally by the Pima County Health Department. To date, Arizona and Pima County have not met these criteria.
As we resume our daily activities we must do so with the intention of staying safe and protecting the most vulnerable members of our community.
We are continuing to encourage everyone to follow social distancing practices, wash your hands often, and wear a face-covering when out in public.
Please adhere to CDC guidelines and remember, working together, we can protect each other and our community.
As we reflect on the Latino contributions in this great country, let us not lose sight of where we, as Americans, Arizonans, Tucsonans need to go.
We must continue to work together to solve the challenges of today, so our community and our children will have a better tomorrow.
2020 is the year to be heard. Keep your family safe and be counted in the U.S. Census.
(Richard Fimbres is the Councilmember for Tucson’s Ward 5.)