OPINION-EDITORIAL – The Washington County Minority Coalition is a grassroots organization dedicated to the advocacy of our county’s growing minority population. Naturally, as an advocacy group we work to raise awareness and bring an end to negative issues facing minorities, such as discrimination and racial profiling. However, as part of that advocacy, we also strive to focus on the positive, such as working to promote and celebrate cultural diversity in our community.
With the rapid growth any city or community experiences also comes a rapid growth in cultural diversity. Such is the case for this city and this county. We are seeing many individuals from a vast array of cultural and ethnic backgrounds finding their home here in Southern Utah. One of this area’s largest and fastest growing minority groups is the Latino community. Since 2000, our county’s Latino community has grown tremendously.
Latino people are becoming more and more a part of the community. In our opinion, it’s a great thing to see our city’s cultural diversity grow. We also acknowledge that there still are problems in the affairs of minorities, including Latinos. As an organization interested in the affairs of minorities, we cannot deny there is still a racial problem in Southern Utah, to some extent. There is a racial gap in our community, that we feel needs to be addressed. It’s a legitimate concern any minority would have in calling Southern Utah their home.
The escalating immigration debate, and the rhetoric that has ensued because of it, has led to rising tensions in race relations involving the Latino community. That political rhetoric, which even takes place here in Southern Utah, has caused many Latinos to feel left out and not part of the community.
So we at the WCMC are calling upon all in our community to take a stand towards bridging the racial gap. Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 to Oct.15. This is a great opportunity for our community to celebrate the many positive influences the Hispanic community has on this nation and this county. We suggest using this time to celebrate and learn about the rich Latino culture and history that is a part of our nation’s history.
Take this time to reach out to your Hispanic neighbors, take an interest in their culture, and perhaps allow them to teach you more about their history and culture. There’s a reason we have Hispanic Heritage Month. Latino culture is rich with a variety of positive aspects, including rich language, food, history, dances, music, and so much more. This truly is an opportunity to set aside politics and the immigration debate to work towards bridging a racial gap. Reach out to your Hispanic neighbors, and let’s celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!
Submitted by the Washington County Minority Coalition.