By Eduardo Morales, Ph.D.–
The 2020 US Census recently reported that Latinx individuals make up the largest ethnic group in California, representing 39.4% of the state’s current population of 39.66 million. Since 2000, the largest ethnic group of children continues to be those identified as Latinx. Many of those who identify as Latinx are also multiracial and multilingual. It is estimated that by 2060, the Latinx population will include the majority of those who reside in California.
Currently, Latinxes are already in the majority in 13 counties in California, including Colusa, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Bernardino, Santa Cruz, Tulare, and Yolo. In the city of Los Angeles, 48.5% identify as Latinx; in Los Angeles County, 45% are Latinx.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, increases in Latinx were noted in 7 of 9 counties with an average increase of 5%. According to the UCLA William Institute report, 5.3% of the Californian population identifies as LGBT. Of these, 48% are non-Latinx white and 35% are Latinx. https://tinyurl.com/be6mkftw
In response to these demographic changes in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom on September 30, 2020, enacted a bill (AB 979) that requires public companies headquartered in the state to include board members. from under-represented communities. This action follows the passage of a similar law in 2018 requiring that public enterprises headquartered in the state have at least one woman on their board of directors by the end of 2019 (SB 826) , with further future increases required depending on the size of the board.
In summary, AB 979 requires that, by the end of 2021, public companies headquartered in California have at least one director on their board from an under-represented community, defined as “a individual who identifies as Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native of Hawaii, or Native of Alaska, or who identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. In addition, this law requires that the number of directors from under-represented communities be increased by the end of calendar year 2022, depending on the size of the board of directors.
Ethnic studies requirement
On October 8, 2021, John Fensterwald reported in EdSource: Highlighting Strategies for Student Success: “Govt. Gavin Newsom signed a law on Friday making California the first state to require all students to take a one-semester course in ethnic studies to earn a high school diploma. The mandate will take effect from the 2029-2030 class, although high schools must start offering classes from the 2025-2026 school year. Hundreds of high schools already have such classes, and Los Angeles Unified and Fresno Unified voted last year to require students to take ethnic studies.
Newsom’s signing of Assembly Bill 101, drafted by Assembly Member Jose Medina D-Riverside, ends a decades-long quest by advocates for an agenda that more closely reflects history , the culture and struggles of California’s diverse people. And it comes a year after Newsom vetoed an almost identical bill amid fierce opposition to the first draft of a model ethnic studies program that critics, especially Jewish organizations, have rejected as prejudice and discriminatory.
Legislation authorizing the establishment of an ethnic studies curriculum stipulated that it should draw attention to the four ethnic and racial groups whose histories and histories have traditionally been overlooked and have been the focus of study classes. college ethnicities: Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans. The model curriculum does this while encouraging schools to include discussions of ethnic and student heritage in their communities. The model curriculum includes lesson plans on Sikh, Jewish, Arab, and Armenian Americans, which were added after these groups objected to being left out in previous versions.
Historic Latinx and LGBT organizations
The Bay Area has a unique history of Latinx people, organizations, and activities. For example, Club Puertoriqueño de San Francisco, Inc., located at 3249-A Mission Street in San Francisco, was incorporated on February 25, 1912 and is the oldest Latinx organization in the United States. The League of United Latin American Citizens, also known as LULAC, was founded in 1929 in Corpus Christi, Texas, and is the largest national Latinx organization in the United States. AGUILAS, founded in 1991, is the oldest LGBT Latinx organization in any country. Americas.
SF Latinx Arts
This year, the 13th San Francisco Latinx Film Festival is organized throughout the fall by Cine + Mas SF. Carlos Santana, 10-time Grammy winner, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, and global music icon, born in Mexico and raised in San Francisco, has just received the Hispanic Heritage Legend Award 2021 from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. His career took off when his group Santana performed at the famous Woodstock Music and Arts Festival in 1969.
Actor and producer Benjamin Bratt was born and raised in San Francisco. Jerry Garcia, famous guitarist, singer, songwriter and lead guitarist and singer of The Grateful Dead, was born and raised in San Francisco. Vermont ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s presented their first ice cream flavor dedicated to a musician called Cherry Garcia.
Día de los Muertos, Carnival
Día de los Muertos, recognized on November 2 and called All Souls Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have passed away. This day is celebrated in various forms in Latin American countries and in the United States among Latinx communities. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, San Francisco regularly held its parade and celebrations in the mission district for Día de los Muertos.
Carnival is another holiday celebrated across Latin America, including San Francisco. Due to weather conditions, San Francisco celebrates Carnival every year with a parade and festival during the month of May. Celebrated before the start of the Lent season, Carnival is a celebration of life, with one of the biggest celebrations taking place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The Rio Carnival parade and celebration takes place in their Sambódrome, where numerous samba schools with over 4,000 members per school parade over several days and the festivities are televised around the world.
You can see some of the incredible Sambódrome celebrations over the years on YouTube. You can also watch a very informative series created by public television called Latin Americans on Youtube. You will be surprised at how Latinx people have been excluded and ostracized across the United States.
For example, in the 1961 film West Side Story, the film presents the tensions in New York between Puerto Rican gang members called the Sharks and a white gang that calls themselves the Jets. In this film, there was only one Puerto Rican person who was chosen: Rita Moreno, who lives in Berkeley and who received the 1962 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the role of Anita.
The next remake of West Side Story is scheduled to hit theaters on December 10. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film includes Moreno as one of its stars. The remake supposedly attempts to correct some of the casting and exclusion issues of the original 1961 film. Check out the trailer here: https://tinyurl.com/vz29mv2c
Eduardo Morales, Ph.D., is one of the founders of AGUILAS, where he holds the position of Executive Director. He is also a retired Distinguished Professor at Alliant International University and the 2021 President of the National Latinx Psychological Association.
Posted on October 21, 2021