By Alex Gordillo
Boston – On Monday, March 21, Conexión hosted a “Dialogue on Demographics” between Jesse Treviño and El Mundo Boston CEO Alberto Vasallo, III. The event was held at Liberty Mutual Insurance and focused on the population growth of Latinos in the U.S.
Welcome remarks from Trinidad Flores, Vice President of Shared Services Operations at Liberty Mutual were followed by Phyllis Barajas, Conexión’s founder and CEO, who said that “the first Hispanic president has already been born.”
She highlighted that one in six adults and one in four children under the age of 18 are Latino in the U.S. today. Accordingly, one in four people in the United States will be Latino by mid-century (The Economist, March 15, 2015).
Vasallo asked Treviño to explain why he uses the term “HispanicLatino” (“because it covers all of us”) and to explain the importance of the HispanicLatino population growth.
Treviño stressed that the Latino population growth is not due to people crossing the border, which is a common misconception.
Because Hispanics are currently being deported at the same rate at which they arrive, “what is driving this new demography is the collapse of the birthrate of non-Hispanic populations.”
He explained that, “a group has to have an average of at least 2.1 babies to maintain the population and HispanicLatinos are one of only two ethnic groups maintaining that rate – we are at 2.2.”
Treviño was careful to warn that although we have growing numbers, he fears we do not yet have the education or economic force. He pointed out that our average household income has remained the same since 1972 and has implications not only for HispanicLatinos but for all Americans because, “the question will become whether we can push our income levels to the point where we are able to generate tax revenues to survive as a country.”
The former White House speechwriter also made political observations of what he coined the “Trump Experience,” saying that, “we are beginning to recognize that while we see each other as different, the rest of the country treats us the same. They often think we are all Mexican, or Cuban, or whatever, depending on where you are. What this Trump thing has done is unify us.”
One political prediction Treviño offered was that the potential for a high Latino turnout could influence the Republican nominee and would likely force the Democratic nominee to appoint a HispanicLatino as the Vice Presidential candidate.
Treviño also offered hope to the room of Latino professionals explaining that, “if you are HispanicLatino and you have a college degree, you are a leader by definition.”
He said Hispanics/Latinos often lack a “mission statement”, unlike the African American community which has a clear one. He explained that we need a collective statement that clarifies our goals and mission – one that all Latinos/Hispanics can identify with.
Since, “no one has told us how important we are,” Treviño stressed the importance of staying true to a unified goal since, “our job is to write our own story.”
Jesse Treviño is a writer, blogger and social critic whose foremost interest is the impact of the demographic changes transforming the United States and the world. A former journalist, speechwriter at the White House and television producer, he believes the development of visionary leadership within American society, specifically among HispanicLatinos, is central to how the country survives in the future.
Alex Gordillo is a writer and consultant for Conexión and resides in Boston. Conexión is an executive mentoring company focusing on developing Latino leaders. For more information, visit www.conexion-all.org.