Cohen and Wolf's Lunch & Learn Series: The Growth and Future of the Latino Community
In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Cohen and Wolf’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee welcomed José Calderón, President of the Hispanic Federation, to its Lunch and Learn Series on September 28, 2022. During his presentation, José educated us on Latino heritage, raised awareness of the strength of the Latino community, and addressed some issues hindering growth opportunities for Latinos.
“We stand 62 million strong—larger than the population of some countries,” José explained, reminding us that Latinos have a rich history within the U.S. and have contributed greatly to our nation. With its strong labor force participation, along with an increase in college enrollments and home purchases, Latinos have witnessed a dramatic growth within their personal income – much faster than that of non-Latinos.
While Latinos are committed to working hard and becoming more educated, Jose discussed some of the challenges that the Latino community faces, including lack of empowerment roles in the workforce. Currently, there are a low number of board seats filled by Latinos and only a small percentage of Latinos who are attorneys. Furthermore, José emphasized the disconnect between financial institutions and Latinos, who have started more small businesses than any other nationality in the U.S. - mostly from personal assets instead of loans.
José emphasized that we have to tap into the incredible talent in the Latino community because the future of our country lies in the strength of this community: “It is critically important to understand this is a key segment of who we are as a nation,” he continued, “We look at America through a white or black lens but we can’t look at it that way because the beauty is how multicultural it is.”
Since 2001, José has been involved in the Hispanic Federation, the nation’s premier Latino nonprofit membership organization, as a leading advocate for Hispanic grassroots organizations and pro-Latino legislation locally and nationwide. Jose manages HF’s overall operations with a primary focus on strategic planning, program development, public policy advocacy and resource development.