Today we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King. He had a dream not only for Black Americans, but also for all minorities, including Hispanics.
Not until the late 1970s and early 1980s did race relations start to improve in the United States. We have heard numerous stories from Hispanics who lived in the 1950s and 1960s about the discrimination they suffered. They could not walk into restaurants or attend churches that were predominantly white. And they lived with the fear of being mistreated because of their ethnicity.
Many Hispanic parents did not teach Spanish to their children because they wanted them to speak English without an accent, and not suffer discrimination. In the process, they prevented them from learning one of the richest languages on earth and being proud of their heritage. Yes, anyone who is born in the United States is an American, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be fluent in other languages.
Then, the late 1980s came along introducing Spanish-language television produced in the United States, and suddenly people who were bilingual had an edge in finding jobs that paid them more for this skill. It then gave birth to bilingual marketing, and major companies began to include Spanish-language documents and Spanish messages on their phone answering services. Spanish became the nation’s unofficial second language.
Today, advertising in Spanish is a billion dollar industry, and marketing to English-speaking Hispanics is gaining ground.
Today, there are many Hispanic politicians, doctors, lawyers, journalists, professors, entrepreneurs, actors and actresses, singers and musicians, and many other professionals who had a dream and were able to attain it. I think they can thank Martin Luther King for opening the door for all of them many years ago.
“I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Thank you Dr. King for the legacy you left us. Your dream is still alive and it will continue for generations to come.