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PA’s Latino Community: Striving for Prosperity in the Land of Opportunity

By Christopher Cornejo, U. of Pittsburgh Student and Journalism Intern for Presente Magazine

The Latino community is a strong, diverse, and large entity. Members of this community represent the strength of courage and determination in the face of adversity in order to obtain a better life for future generations.

In recent years, the Latino population in the country has skyrocketed. According to NBC News, “Latinos accounted for 51.1 percent of the country’s growth, rising to 18.7 percent of the U.S. population, according to numbers from the 2020 census.” This statistic is resounding and holds true not just for the country, but individual states themselves.

In a recent interview with Norman Colón, chairman and founder of the Pennsylvania Latino Convention (PALC), he tells Presente the increasing impact the Latino community is having on the state of Pennsylvania. The population has experienced exponential growth in recent years.

“​​Latinos make up 50% of the state of Pennsylvania’s population growth of the last 20 years,” Colón said. “This means we need to continue to have more Latin representation in all sectors of society.

Colón stresses the importance of investing in the community. The PALC held its most recent convention in Reading, PA from September 28th to September 30th. The convention serves as a hub for workshops and lectures, among other functions, focused on the improvement and advancement of the Latino community. The convention focuses on important trends and issues within the population. Trends, like the aforementioned population growth.

With this growth, problems have arisen within the Latino community, affecting its growth and equity within the state of Pennsylvania. Problems such as poverty, high-school, and college graduation rates, and lack of overall representation. Colón also identifies what he considers to be the “root of the problem.”

“We must eradicate Latino poverty,” he said. “We must address the root of the problem, and remain deeply committed to making sure we lower, and eventually completely do away with Latino poverty.”

This is one of the many stances Colón and the PALC have taken in their journey to uplift the community. The work being done in order to support and advance the Latino population not just in Pennsylvania, but the entire country, is essential.

To create a diverse, inclusive, and progressive society, Colón, the PALC, and others like them, continue to strive for excellence and prosperity within the land of opportunity.

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