Remarks as Prepared
Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation
Sept. 21 2016
Good morning, everyone. Thank you for being here.
We come together in Oregon to honor Hispanic Heritage Month because of the significant role Latinos have in our state today, and for the many ways in which they will add to the rich fabric of Oregon in the future.
We are fortunate in Oregon to welcome Latinos from all over the world who want to call our state home.
Since 2000, our Latino population has grown 72 percent. We now have the 19th largest Latino population in the nation. And more than 187,000 Oregon voters are Latino.
Oregon Latinos are also significantly younger than white Oregonians. The median age of Latinos in Oregon is 24 years old, compared to 41 years old for the white population.
Simply put, Latinos are the future of Oregon. Our future doctors, educators, entrepreneurs, and – most importantly – our leaders.
Here’s why that matters.
As Governor, I am deeply committed to diversifying the leadership of state government to better reflect the people and experiences of all Oregonians. Understanding of diverse cultures and people is good for the direct services to clients; policymaking on everything from education to health; and for nuanced discussions and decisions that happen daily within state agencies.
I am excited for the next generation of Latino leaders to join our state workforce or elected ranks. When I look at the young people in this room, or think of your children and grandchildren at home, I hope at least one of them – or even a few – dream of becoming Governor one day. Or even President.
That is why it’s so important that we prioritize education in Oregon so that that our communities and schools can continue to nurture children’s curiosity and learning. And it’s why we must insure more Oregonians so that we get from today’s numbers of 94 percent of adults and 98 percent of children to 100 percent across the board.
We will make this a place where each Oregonian is healthy and has opportunities to thrive.
Thank you for being here to honor Latino heritage and being committed to building our state’s future together.
And now I will read the proclamation:
WHEREAS: Oregon people who identify themselves as Hispanic, Latino, Latinx, Chicano, or indigenous from Mexico, South America, and Central America have contributed to our state’s history and successes since the 1800s; and
WHEREAS: Oregon honors the rich and diverse cultural heritage and historical legacies all our people bring to our state; and
WHEREAS: Oregon’s Hispanic community now constitutes 12 percent of the state’s population, with 483,000 people living throughout the state’s 36 counties, more than 1 in 4 kindergartners identifying as Hispanic and more than 15,000 businesses owned by Hispanic entrepreneurs; and
WHEREAS: Oregon’s Hispanic community continues to expand opportunities for a successful future, providing leadership as policymakers, educators, and students; as members of the judiciary, military, and public safety services; and as professionals in the trades and business, who are actively involved in their communities and in mentoring the next generation; and
WHEREAS: This month we proudly join the nation in celebrating the rich culture and history of Hispanic heritage in Oregon, as we dedicate ourselves to working together to continue to address challenges still facing Hispanic Oregonians in equity and access to the prosperity of Oregon.
NOW, THEREFORE: I, Kate Brown, Governor of the State of Oregon, hereby proclaim September 15 to October 15, 2016 to be Hispanic Heritage Month in Oregon and encourage all Oregonians to join in this observance.