By Jacqueline Ramsay
On Tuesday, First Lady Michelle Obama met with six Hispanic women for an intimate session led by contributing political editor of Mamiverse.com Maria Cardona. The meeting was intended to provide a snapshot of the diverse political sentiment within the female Hispanic community, but instead showcased a much broader message with deep American values. A message that all politicians, executives and corporations need to take into consideration if they are to understand the diversity of this country and the direction it needs to go.
Hispanics have become a massive and powerful demographic in the United States. Not only are they proving to dominate the online and retail markets, but their voices continue to influence the outcome of policies that, at one point in time, might have easily passed through the Supreme Court. And with the 2010 U.S. Census citing Hispanics to be the largest minority group in America, accounting for 55 percent of the overall U.S. population growth between 2000 and 2010, understanding their concerns and knowing their thoughts has never been more important.
While many politicians are in a hurry to secure the Hispanic vote this election season, it is clear that courting Hispanics, otherminority groups, and women only once every four years in an effort to get into the White House is not enough. During the interview, Michelle Obama stated that, with this year’s election, there is much more at stake.
With an economy recovering from one of the worst depressions in decades, and with millions of Americans still without jobs and anchored by school debt, America is in need of solutions that go beyond the next four months. And as the women indicated in their discussion with the First Lady, their concerns are not solely focused on affordable health care and education, but in the creation of programs, policies and opportunities that can better prepare this country for the growing minority and female workforces. Programs like Pell Grants, which the Obama administration increased in order to help more students pay for college.
“No matter who we are, we are all struggling and working towards the same goals,” said Mrs. Obama. “We have to look for leaders who share our values.”
Despite the increased backlash that the Hispanic community and other minority groups have endured since 9/11, the women of the Mamiverse.com interview seemed to share one simple, yet very telling sentiment that in fact did not touch on racial profiling or racism. Language barriers and borders are not what define the Hispanic community; rather, they want America’s leaders to know that it is their family values that do.
In the end, nothing motivates women and mothers like the promise of the safety and health of their children and families. As Mrs. Obama expressed, her passion for the campaign “… has 99 percent to do with my girls and the future I want for them to have. In the end we are doing this for our children and grandchildren.”