Popular columnist Ruben Navarrette today writes about the Hispanic community’s search for their own “Obama.” The search has little to do with party affiliation, but finding an inspiring figure to unite a community desiring to make a bigger difference in American politics. Ideally that mark would be made by the first Latino American President.
Read Navarrette’s column to learn about up and coming Latino leaders, conservative and liberal (pictured below).
Navarrette: Two rising Latino stars
A nationwide search is on for the Latinobama. With the country’s largest minority on its way to representing one-third of the U.S. population by 2050, many are speculating about who might be the first Latino president.
Here’s the winning formula: Someone who inspires Latinos without threatening non-Latinos, who appreciates one’s ethnic background without feeling limited by it, and who isn’t bitter over how Latinos have been treated but also doesn’t gloss over that fact in order to be accepted by the mainstream.
For those who think that what started Barack Obama in politics was his election as president of the Harvard Law Review, the natural choice is 25-year-old Andrew Manuel Crespo – a recent graduate of Harvard Law School and the first Latino president of the law review. Then there is Marilinda Garcia, a 26-year-old Republican who was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2006. She’s a graduate of Tufts University and a student at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
But I’d put my money on it being someone named Castro from San Antonio. That way, I’d get two chances to be right.
Julian Castro is the 34-year-old newly elected mayor of San Antonio. A graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law, the Democrat previously served on the San Antonio City Council for four years.
Navarrette highlights three note-worthy young Hispanic American politicos making a splash on the national scene. These three are just part of thousands of Latinos trying to make their mark in America (in addition to Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz…). Many of these “Latino Stars” come from immigrant families who came to America struggling to make sure their children had opportunities never available to them.
Republican leaders often ask me what they can do to include more Hispanic-Americans. There is a long list but one thing to do is mentor and “in-reach” (i.e. inclusion). I strongly believe in outreach and inclusion must go hand in hand. You need to do outreach, work with the local community, as well as include bright individuals in the system. Party leaders need to be better at identifying and fostering potential. We must include more young leaders in the ranks, of all backgrounds, and bring them into the leadership structure.
Some of this might seem like common sense, but sometimes we forget common sense. I’m proposing a very simple philosophy, people aren’t going to go to your party unless you invite them (or fell un-welcomed), so start inviting people to the party…
Mentoring is especially important for Hispanics, many recognizes this as a form of education/ apprenticeship. Education is by far one of the top issues for Hispanics. Many Latino Americans don’t have years of family ties and ivy league school connections, all they have is an excitement to make a difference.
We need to do outreach (to identify talented future leaders) and then include them at all levels of the party structure. Its amazing how almost anyone can flourish when they think someone believes in them. Some initial first steps include: promote good volunteers, name them to a council/committee, encourage them to run for office (precinct leadership position, school board, etc…), get them involved in year round activities, train them on how to become a better campaigner/leader, walk them through the process, etc…
Ask yourself, what are you doing to inspire a new generation of political leaders?