WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, released the following statement to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs September 15 through October 15, 2023.

“During Hispanic Heritage Month, and throughout the year, we must recognize the history and contributions of our Hispanic community. America grows and prospers because of the wealth of experiences and backgrounds they bring to our workplaces, schools, churches, and main streets. The beauty and diversity of the Hispanic community is unique.

“Hispanics have persevered throughout our country’s history and have helped us reach incredible feats. Whether an entrepreneur, veteran, astronaut, teacher, doctor or scientist, they keep our communities vibrant and safe while embodying the American spirit of tenacity and perseverance. It is only right that we continue to provide resources for Hispanics to excel, and in doing so, recognize the importance of breaking down the barriers faced by Hispanic entrepreneurs and youth.

“A few years ago, in the parish hall at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Baltimore, I addressed members of the Latino Provider Network. The visit came after a recent trip I had to the southern border with immigrant service providers.

“That day I heard from Crisaly De Los Santos, then president of the LatinX Unidos at Baltimore City Community College. She asked me why immigrant students should consider going to college, given the high costs and the risks they face after graduation. I was shocked to hear the disillusionment she faced. I’m certain she was not alone in voicing the extreme uncertainty faced by some Hispanic youth because of immigration status or multiple socioeconomic barriers to succeed in the American economy.

“During Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize the challenges faced by the most underserved within the Hispanic population. Systemic issues in our healthcare, tax, immigration and education systems, all can create cyclical poverty in Hispanic families. Like all Americans, underserved Hispanic communities deserve access to quality public schools, affordable and widely available health care, and access to capital that helps small business owners attain the American Dream.

“This is no coincidence: Hispanic Americans helped build and continue to build this nation. We are all the better for it. Like Crisaly, our Hispanic neighbors always find a way to excel while helping their communities prosper. Hispanic-owned business alone contribute $800 billion to the American economy annually. Thanks to recent legislative wins, they too will benefit from updated infrastructure, lower healthcare costs, and increased resources under the Biden-Harris administration. In fact, we’re seeing a record low Latino teen unemployment rate and the fastest creation rate of Hispanic-owned businesses in more than a decade – 20 percent faster than pre-pandemic levels.

“Now is the time to stand hand in hand and continue investing in our Hispanic community. As a nation, we say no to hateful rhetoric, prejudice, divisive rhetoric, and harmful policies. In doing so, we will better uphold the ideals of our nation and create a better country for all Americans.”