The simple answer is yes. According to the public opinion research firm Bendixen & Associates, “more than 80 percent of Latino voters said that energy and environmental issues impact have ‘a lot’ or ‘some’ impact on the quality of life and health of their families.” Latinos care about how their environment and how that it impacts their family’s quality of life. I think as Americans, we all share in that sentiment.
So when I ask Latinos out on the street, “Would you like to work in something that will improve your family’s quality of life and health,” the response I most hear is si! Latinos want to work in jobs that not only lift them out of poverty but that contribute to their families in grander ways—helping the environment, improving their wellbeing, and ensuring our collective social responsibility. I think the challenge has been that Latinos and many underserved communities have not been given the tools or the opportunity to participate in this discussion and much less partake in any so-called green jobs.
That is why Democracia U.S.A., a national nonpartisan voter empowerment and community organizing organization, is jumping on the Green Jobs Now bandwagon. We work in communities around the country; communities where some Hispanics are doing well and in other areas where they are honestly having a tough time making ends meet. Why can’t we have Latinos join the rest of the clamoring American workforce in demanding our leaders for a green economy? Latinos are already mobilizing to make a difference. Democracia U.S.A. is joining the Green Jobs Now campaign with its own “Latinos Go Green/Latinos Por La Tierra” project that will focus on environmental voter education and promoting the message that we need a green economy now with green jobs. It’s not for the sake of some political agenda, it’s because Latinos like many Americans are concerned that if we don’t make changes to our lifestyles and our economy now, then we are bound to be stuck in our current cycle of poverty and poor environmental health for years to come. And the ones that are going to be the most affected by that lack of action are the poor and the underserved—many of them Latino families in this country.
We have to take action now! We want Green Jobs Now! ¡Queremos iniciativas ambientales para nuevos trabajos ahora!