Today’s report by Latino Decisions and Hispanic Access Foundation on three years of major public polling of the Latino community makes it clear that we view conservation as a fundamental value.
Latinos feel a sense of moral obligation to protecting the land our families have enjoyed for generations, and to ensuring that we have clean air and water that our families depend on. Moreover, the analysis and HECHO’s own poll show that this is true regardless of party affiliation, and that we want policy makers to support policies that match those values. We expect to have our voices heard, and we want policy makers to engage us as partners. This analysis reinforces just how strong that expectation is for the Latino community.
As with other recent media conversations, today's press conference stressed an irrefutable fact: Latinos are not a single-issue community. To most Latinos, the idea that we care about the air, the water, the earth and life on it has been ingrained for centuries. However, it's a revelation to today's media, perhaps because we don't necessarily fit the media stereotype of the environmentalist. "We are here to shatter that stereotype," said Leo Murrieta, National Field Director of Mi Familia Vota, one of the speakers at today's press conference.
And it's true. We are hunters, anglers, hikers, picnickers, piñon gatherers, (you name it- if it is outdoors, we engage in it) and we come from across the political spectrum. But we do know that the things that threaten the air, the water, wildlife and aquatic life, also threaten our families and our future.
We can only hope that the recent article in The Hill, the recent blog at High Country News, recent conversations such as the recent chat between Latino conservationists, and upcoming events such as America's Latino Eco Festival in Boulder will continue to raise awareness among policy makers that Latinos should be part of the wider conversation about protecting public lands and caring for the environment.