To the Editor:
As a proud Latino, and a member of the Elgin Community College family, it is an honor for me to have celebrated the recent National Hispanic Heritage Month.
The history of the U.S. is well populated with the contributions that Latinos, as well as all immigrants groups, have given to the betterment and advancement of our country, in multiple areas, such as education, civil and labor rights, culture, science, work force, military, politics and more.
The contribution of Latinos to this country is well felt in all 50 states and abroad. It is felt even in those states where the Latino population is not a large one. This is because in every single aspect of the life of this country there are many Latinos making sure we all benefit from the fruit of their hard work.
As it has been for all minorities in this country, Latinos have faced serious difficulties to achieve equality, fairness and justice. Although progress has been made, day in and day out, we continue to face obstacles, primarily from political groups and uninformed citizens that have made one of the primary topics of their agenda to block any effort to bring millions of Hispanics – most of them children, teenagers and young adults – to a path to become U.S. residents and eventually U.S. citizens.
These are human beings that have worked hard for this country, kids that have not known any other country but the U.S. and that were brought here due to no fault of their own.
I am very proud of being part of a Hispanic-serving institution like ECC. Year after year, the ECC family honors Hispanic heritage with a month-long celebration.
As I said in my welcoming remarks at the Hispanic Heritage Month Kick off Breakfast here at ECC, we need to continue this effort, this fight for justice and equality for all, to honor the memory of those who came before us, those who are the present and those who will lead in the future.
I will end this letter by borrowing a quote from labor and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez: “We need to help students and parents cherish and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthen this community – and this nation.”
Si se puede.
Luis Martinez, MD
Associate professor of anatomy and physiology, and president of the Elgin Community College Faculty Association