The 2012 presidential election is a defining moment not just for Hispanics, but the changing face of America. The United States represents a more diverse global melting pot than ever before, and it's time that we all become more knowledgeable about how these new faces and voices can contribute to the future of America.
Hispanics are finding it difficult to advance in America because our voices and our identities have been misunderstood. This problem affects the mindset of Hispanic youth, making it difficult for them to succeed in school. Hispanics must step up, or America will face serious consequences.
This identity crisis exists not only amongst Hispanics, but also in other immigrant and minority communities. African Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics made up over a third of the US population in 2010, and the growth continues. Two of those groups, Asian Pacific Islanders and Hispanics, are growing at approximately 8 times the rate of the white population. And one of those groups, the majority-minority Hispanics, will represent 30% of the U.S. population by 2050. With this population growth comes increased economic impact. Indeed, Hispanic purchasing power will be an estimated $1.2 trillion by as early as 2012.
We are becoming an increasingly diverse nation at a faster and faster rate. But American business leaders - and Americans in general - remain in denial about the implications of these facts.
For example, a recent Pew Hispanic Center study found that 74% of those surveyed could not name an important Hispanic leader in the U.S. At the executive leadership level, the Census Bureau reports that white men overwhelmingly dominate boards of Fortune 500 companies, holding more than three quarters of all seats. Women hold 15.7 percent of board seats and minorities hold 9.8 percent of board seats. Approximately half of Fortune 500 company boards have 20 percent or less representation of women and minorities. Minorities and women are underrepresented at the leadership level, and as a result, Americans are not aware of the few leaders that have reached high levels in business. And without such representation, how will companies develop an authentic awareness of new consumer markets? How will the changing face of America contribute in more meaningful ways to the reinvention of America?
It's time for all of us to start embracing America's growing diversity. It's no longer optional. This is particularly true if America is to reclaim its global competitiveness, which has declined over the past three years. It is a strategic and operational necessity for any company, community or organization that wants to grow and innovate in the marketplaces of the future.
In January, this important conversation will begin with the kickoff of the 2012 Hispanic Voice Town Hall Tour. This Town Hall Tour will allow Hispanics to come together to define our agenda. This must include finding new ways to work together within our community, but also new ways to engage with other multicultural groups that have faced the same challenges. We must stop isolating ourselves. Hispanics and non-Hispanics must find common ground to start working together.
Whether you are Hispanic or not I strongly urge you to educate yourself about the authentic portrayal of immigrants in America. This will help you to better understand your own cultural roots, their foundational values, and the leadership capabilities that come from the immigrant perspective. America must reclaim its authentic spirit. We must stop resisting the immigrant mentality that is part of our diverse heritage. Immigrant values are the same values that made America great until greed, distrust, and selfishness got in the way. We need that mentality in order for the United States to earn the respect of a world that is carefully watching each decision we make.
Let's all make the decision to reconnect with our own cultural values by educating ourselves about the authentic portrayal of immigrants in America. Don't be selfish. This is not just about you - it's about your children and the generations that follow. Become part of this conversation. You can learn more about the Town Hall Tour at www.2012HispanicVoice.com or contact us at ideas@2012HispanicVoice.com