Latino Americans Aren’t A New Population To “Start” Paying Attention To. Hello, 500 Years of History

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 16.9 percent of the country’s population is Hispanic or Latino; in Colorado, that stat jumps up to 21 percent. Even more telling: Hispanics under 18 are the fastest-growing population in our state. But the influence of Latino Americans on our nation is not just a tale of the modern era (contrary to election year storylines). “This is not a new community. The current political climate too often perpetuates these notions of Latinos as newcomers or outsiders in the United States,” says Elisabeth Escobedo, a professor of Latino History at the University of Denver. “It’s important to understand the long-standing participation of Latinos and Latinas in national formation. Latino history is not a subset of American history. It is American history.”

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