Being a part of the majority isn’t enough, one should be educated as well.
Richard Gonzales, author of “Raza Rising Chicanos in North Texas” gave a presentation Oct. 16 on the importance of the Latino vote and how education fuels action.
He said the conundrum Texas is facing is that even though the Latino population is increasing, representation in government, corporate, non-profit executive levels or boardroom positions is not seen.
In fact, according to the U.S. census the Latino population made up the majority of the population in Texas as of July 2022. However according to Pew Research center 20.9% of Latinos have bachelor degrees.
“I wanted to stress to students the path to those positions is to become politically involved and to become as educated as possible,” he said. “There is a gap in the professional positions for people of color, and I’m stressing to not be hesitant to aspire to be in one of those higher professional positions. … Don’t hesitate to be those if you aspire to do that.”
Another topic he discussed at the Hispanic Heritage Month event was voter education and how it should be taught earlier than even high school or middle school. It needs to be taught from the beginning, he said.
As a person who came from a family that didn’t vote, TR student Heaven Acevedo said she had to read about it herself.
“I got involved in a speech and debate club and I practiced creating bills and stuff,” she said. “It was all fake, but we had to do research and use actual sources, so I was constantly reading new policies, and I still do.”
TR student Gideon Green said he believes Texas state officials aren’t doing enough to push and challenge people enough to vote and educate themselves more. He said he believes it is to prevent activism and gain knowledge about important issues.
“It’s easier to control people when they’re uneducated,” he said. “Our society values work over education, and it’s easier to have people working for lower wages when they’re uneducated and they don’t know their rights or the laws. If that wasn’t the case, there would be a lot more positive change within north Texas and Texas as a whole.”
Lucia Ramirez-Amarasekara, one of the organizers of the event and part of the Hispanic Heritage Month committee at TR, said the purpose was to educate students on the importance of the Latino vote.
“We wanted to make students aware of voting power, not just one group but every group, which is why we also have the League of Women Voters,” she said.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization that believes the freedom of voting is a nonpartisan issue provided the opportunity to register to vote.
“Education plays an important role in each students’ future. They should get involved politically to help make change whatever change that may be.”