Latinas compose just over 1 percent of the nation’s over 7,000 state senators and representatives, and just 2 percent of members of Congress. A coalition of Hispanic groups say that can’t continue, particularly since 25 million Latinas live in the United States.
“For a nation that prides itself on inclusion, that’s frankly unacceptable. Our very democracy is in question when our legislative bodies don’t look like the diverse constituencies of our country,” said Héctor Sánchez, executive director of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a non-partisan coalition of national Latino groups. “We’re in a pivotal moment in history when critical issues affecting all Americans are being debated. Our nation needs 100 percent of our talent to find solutions.”
NHLA and other groups gathered Monday at the U.S. Capitol on the last week of Women’s History Month to offer networking and training to boost the ranks of Hispanic women in the different levels of elected and appointed offices.
“We’ve been building up the list of current and former Latino appointees and looking at levels all across the country, and we’re engaging the appointees to serve as mentors,” said Melody González, director of NHLA’s Latino Appointment Program, who said mentoring was an important tool in building a pipeline. “This includes how to navigate through the process, including interview tips and résumé tips, and how to research where you want to work and see where you fit in,” she added.