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The Hispanic Institute Launches Bilingual PSA for Get-Out-The-Vote Campaign

The key to reaching Hispanic voters? Speak both their languages!

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 22) -- Today, The Hispanic Institute launched a bilingual public service announcement video encouraging Hispanics to vote in this November's midterm elections. The video -- which transitions seamlessly between English and Spanish -- is part of the Institute's 2014 Get-Out-The-Vote campaign.

Our Responsibility to Vote! from Aalia Network on Vimeo.

"America's 54 million Hispanics owe it to themselves and their families to make their voices heard at the polls this November," said Gus West, Board Chair of The Hispanic Institute. "Our video appeals to Hispanic Americans' sense of civic duty -- whatever their preferred language may be."

Historically, Hispanics have been under-represented politically. That's largely because they've voted at rates 25 percent lower than blacks and whites.

The Hispanic Institute's video aims to change that. And reaching Hispanics requires bilingual outreach. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts the use of Spanish as the primary language will decrease among Hispanics in the coming years. Already, a quarter of Hispanic Americans speak only English at home.

The Hispanic Institute is looking to air its Get-Out-The-Vote video in five states with the most competitive elections this fall: Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, and Iowa.

"With the mid-term elections just six weeks away, Hispanics have a historic chance to influence policy on the issues that matter most to them," said West. "Our campaign will call on them to seize that opportunity."

THI letter to The Members of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

March 3, 2014

The Honorable Greg Walden, Chairman, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Committee on Energy and Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Anna G. Eshoo,  Ranking Member  Subcommittee on Communications  and Technology  Committee on Energy and Commerce  U.S. House of Representatives  Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Walden and Ranking Member Eshoo:

The Hispanic Institute works on issues important to the Hispanic community and we are disappointed to see the interests and profits of pay-TV providers coming before the Hispanic consumer.

A proposed change to the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA) would give pay-TV providers the freedom to remove broadcast channels from the most affordable option in subscription services, basic tier service. Moreover, a Spanish-speaking household wanting the full range of Spanish language networks may have to subscribe to higher-priced tiers because the provision would give pay-TV providers the freedom to split up these popular channels to maximize their profits. In the Hispanic community, Spanish-language networks not only provide popular programming, but also serve as important community resources and trusted advisors on a wide range of issues from the importance of the Census to the need for Hispanic political participation. And like every other TV viewer in the country, our communities turn to these local channels for up to the minute information on weather conditions and other emergency information. Allowing these changes to basic tier service would make monthly cable bills- already an affordability issue given constant rate hikes-even costlier for Hispanic consumers.

Taxes and Fees: Barriers to Hispanic Connectivity

WASHINGTON (November 14, 2012) – A new report “Taxes and Fees: Barriers to Hispanic Connectivity” released today by The Hispanic Institute calls for Congress to pass bi-partisan legislation that would require uniform tax rules for online purchases of digital goods and wireless phone services.

The report supports passage of the Digital Goods and Services Fairness Act, which would prohibit the imposition of taxes by multiple jurisdictions on the same digital purchase, and the Wireless Tax Fairness Act, which would impose a five-year moratorium on new, discriminatory state or local taxes on mobile services, providers and property.

"Right now, thanks to a regressive patchwork of state and local taxes, Americans are paying more than they should for their phones and the products they buy online," said Gus West, Board Chair of The Hispanic Institute. "This unfair tax burden hits hardest those who can least afford it, including many Hispanics.”

Both measures would deliver significant savings for all Americans, including the many Hispanics who rely heavily on digital devices for employment, education, commercial and other economic and social interactions.  

Read the Full Study [PDF]

Soda Size Cap Cuts Calories Most in Kids, the Overweight, Study Finds

-- by Melissa Healy, The Los Angeles Times:

A day after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Health Department went to court to defend its proposed cap on the sale of super-sized sodas, a published study has offered evidence that Bloomberg's plan would reduce average calorie intake among those most likely to buy large drinks, and would have its greatest effect on overweight and obese kids.

The study, conducted by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, also found that low-income consumers were no more affected by a portion cap than were those of higher income -- a major challenge to opponents of the proposed cap, who have argued it unfairly targets the poor.

The research was published Wednesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition...

... At the same time, the finding that low-income consumers pared about the same number of calories from their daily intake as those with higher incomes may undermine an argument mustered by many opponents of soda restrictions or taxes: that such measures restrict poor people's choices but not those of higher-income consumers.

Gus K. West, president of the Washington-based Hispanic Institute, says it's time for that argument to lose its power anyway. In low-income communities and Latino communities disproportionately affected by obesity and diabetes, measures that drive down sugar-sweetened beverage consumption should and will have a heavy impact -- for the better, West says.

Read the Full Story

Gus West: Immigration Reform Bill Still Denies Basic Rights

-- for the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

May 6, 2013

Is this the year Washington finally tackles immigration reform?

The bipartisan "Gang of Eight" senators just released a proposal for "comprehensive immigration reform."

But the "comprehensive immigration reform" on offer serves to legally deprive undocumented immigrants of fundamental civil rights — in spite of their outsized contributions to the U.S. economy.

The basic plan from the Gang of Eight has not changed much since the last time Washington showed an interest in immigration reform, in 2007.

It starts with stern promises to "secure the border." A guest worker program would follow.

The Gang of Eight proposal would enable undocumented immigrant workers to remain here legally after a criminal background check, a hefty registration fee, and a number of other onerous requirements.

Read the Full Piece

 

De la Isla: Latina Obesity Exacerbated by Food Industry

-- by Jose De la Isla, Hispanic Link News Service:

The Hispanic Institute of Washington, D.C., recently released a report: "Obesity: Hispanic America's Big Challenge." It's in line with the growing notion that some Latino community groups are too cozy with the food industry.

Commercial interests are flooding stores with sugary soft drinks and other foods that are too salty and fatty. Latino families have favorable demographics for increasing sales. Unfortunately, this also contributes greatly to the national obesity problem.

Among the solutions: The institute urges national Hispanic organizations not to accept funds from companies whose products hurt people and for whom those groups exist as advocates.

The institute's report stands out by going a step further than simply serving as just one more criticism of food-industry products. It examines the marketing as well and the politics of goodwill behind some of the support given to Latino organizations.

"Of course, we're responsible for what we eat and drink," says the institute's president, Gus West, "but we're also subject to the effects of massive advertising and misleading promotional campaigns -- especially on our children and the poor."

Read More

FROM THE "VANGUARDIA" NEW BLOG

"Latino America's" Matt Barreto: Politicos are Missing the Boat

-- by Sandra Lilley NBC News:

It can feel like "deja vu all over again" when it comes to coverage of Latinos and American politics. Latinos are either the electoral "sleeping giant" or they just are just not that into politics, and they will always vote Democratic unless their religious conservatism makes them Republicans without knowing it, like Ronald Reagan famously said.

Two leading Latino social scientists, Matt Barreto and Gary Segura, co-founders of the polling and research firm Latino Decisions, do a reality check on these assumptions in their new book "Latino America: How America's Most Dynamic Population Is Poised To Transform The Politics Of The Nation."

Through a thorough recounting of past Latino voting patterns as well as through extensive surveys, what emerges is a more nuanced, big-picture look at the country's Latino electorate and its rapid growth, which is, in the end, why it matters.

"Demographic change is happening in real time," said Barreto in an interview with NBC News. "Campaign officials don't see it coming until after it happens."

Read More

The Pentagon Will Allow Undocumented Immigrants to Join the U.S. Military

-- by John Dyer, Vice News:

The Pentagon made a surprise announcement on Thursday to let undocumented immigrants serve in the United States military — but few of them are likely to get into the armed forces under the new policy, experts told VICE News.

As a result, everyone from immigration advocates to Republican congressmen are pissed off.

From Tobacco to Tortillas: Latinos Remake Durham, North Carolina

-- by Suzanne Gamboa NBC News:

Roselia Flores rushes into La Superior and quickly genuflects before the encased Virgin of Guadalupe statue in the corner of her supermarket.

“My first priority is God, then family and then work,” said Flores, who built the expansive Latino grocery-, bakery-, meat shop-, tortilleria-in-one.

Latino Groups Step Up Voter Registration Efforts Over Congressional Inaction

-- by Rebecca S. Myles, Latino Post:

Latino and immigration advocacy groups are busy organizing registration drives, and others are running eduation campaigns. The November elections could be a referendum by voters on the Obama Administration and Congress' failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Latinos Told the Only Way to Influence Policy Changes is by Voting

-- by Griselda Nevarez, Voxxi:

As the nation celebrates National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, Latinos are being told that the only way to influence real policy changes is by exercising the power of their vote during this year’s midterm elections.

Poll: GOP Struggles on Immigration

-- by Jonathan Topaz, Politico:

Republicans are unhappy with their party’s handling of illegal immigration, a new poll says.

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