As our nation commemorates Hispanic Heritage Month, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced a bipartisan resolution which passed on Saturday September 22, 2012 recognizing the month-long celebration and honoring the heritage, culture, and many contributions of Hispanic Americans throughout the history of the United States.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently over 52 million Latinos in the United States, representing the fastest growing and largest minority in this country. Nearly one in every three children in the United States is of Hispanic descent, and that number is expected to increase by 60 percent over the next 20 years. Hispanics now own more than 2.3 million businesses, and the growth of these businesses has outpaced non-minority owned firms by 44 percent, according to the latest economic data from the U.S. Census. Moreover, the purchasing power of the Hispanic community is at nearly $1 trillion.
Hispanic Americans have historically been an integral part of this nation’s history. Latinos have served with distinction in all branches of the Armed Forces, and have bravely fought in every war in the history of the United States. As of July 2012, there were 143,054 Hispanic active duty service members in the United States Armed Forces. In fact, 44 Hispanic Americans have received the Congressional Medal of Honor – the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed on an individual serving in the Armed Forces.