The Road To Freedom
by Manuel Hernández
The November 2nd elections defined Latinos as the vote that
marched through the road to freedom. With the highest turnout
ever, Latinos have finally opened the gates to their pathway.
The road to freedom provoked a lot of before, during and after
electoral debate, but Latinos met the challenge and cruised
to victory. With an increase of 5 percent of the Republican
vote from the 2000 elections, it is clear and present that
Latinos will have an opportunity to voice issues and concerns
and make their presence felt in all avenues of the American
The Latino preschool, elementary, secondary and high school
population is growing and has now become part of an important
story of the largest minority ethnic group in the United States.
Much of the recent rise in minority enrollment in elementary
and secondary schools may be attributed to the growth in the
number of Latino students. The issue of education is key to
Latinos, who are less likely to receive a quality education
than most other Americans. In one of his recent political
rallies, President Bush stated "the role of government
is to help people realize a dream, not stand in the way of
dreams." The road to freedom is rough and bumpy, but
Latinos dream and have realized that their dreams are founded
in the educational empowerment of the people.
After they numerically proved in the past elections that
they should not be taken for granted, the education of Latinos
must be a top priority for the President's administration.
Census projections go as far as placing them over the 100
million mark by mid-century, but the numbers are meaningless
unless Latinos decelerate high school drop out rates, national
testing scores and other educational pit stops. However, despite
the fact that Latinos have recently made some major gains,
disparities still exist in academic performance between Latinos
and non- Latino White students.
In the Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass by Terry
M. West, young Frederick's owner prohibits his wife to read
to him because it was dangerous and against the law. The words
of the slave owner sank deep into Douglass' heart and motivated
him to read, learn and educate himself. The rest of Douglass'
legacy is recorded in American history. Latinos must decisively
take advantage of this moment in history and drive through
the road to freedom. The road to freedom is a pledge to educate
and empower children and send them on an envisioned road to
promote the educational excellence that all of them deserve.
A generation after the historical I Have A Dream speech has
paved the way to provide all Americas children with quality
education and excellent academic standards.
You ask me to comment. OK. I find myself in a position to
give my opinion, for where I live in Idaho, just minutes from
the Snake River that also borders Ontario, Oregon, there are
thousands of hispanics, illegals and mexicans most of them.
It has been my experience so far that very few of them will
have the ambition of aspiring for anything more than providing
a decent living to their families here or in their native
countries. Most of them are hard workers and they seem content
just with living life with whatever they can get from their
The majority of these people come from rural areas and bring
with them a very poor formal education and they also bring
with them their bad habits. There is an area in Ontario, Oregon,
populated by hispanics, whre there have been shootings. Many
of them like to get drunk and they could care less about the
law, running stop signs, traffic lights, speeding and driving
under the influence.
Not all hispanics bring the idea of advancing in this country
and merely want to survive. I know one man around 70 years
old who was born in Texas of mexican descent. He speaks no
English and is uneducated. As you can see his parents missed
the boat by not getting him in school so he could get out
of the rut.
On the other side of the coin, there are the few who know
why they came to this country. For example, I know very few
families that have started businesses and whose families are
getting a college education while also working hard.
But make no mistake, hispanics are the wave of the future
in America. It will take time for other ethnias to recognize
the contributions and advancements that hispanics are making
in this country. By then hispanics will have discovered "The
Road to Freedom" and will merge with the rest of society
to become simply americans.
I hope you liked my comments.