Latinos and the Nations's Future

Latinos and the Nation’s Future, by Henry Cisneros, ed. (Arte Publico Press, 2009)

Henry Cisneros’ newest book, Latinos and the Nation’s Future, follows a format he established in 2006 with Casa y Comunidad: Latino Home and Neighborhood Design. In both, Cisneros gathered great minds, set the book’s theme, and assigned a chapter to each.

But Casa y Comunidad was for people in the housing industry. Latinos and the Nation’s Future is for everyone making policy decisions for their communities, schools, hospitals, cities and states. Perhaps more importantly, it’s for those in the White House, Congress and the Federal government.

Its central message goes like this: “The Latino population is now so large, its trajectory of growth so rapid, its contrast in relative age to that the general population so stark, that it will not be possible for the United States to advance without substantial, and so far unimagined, gains in the economic, educational and productive attributes of the nation’s Latino community.”In short, Cisneros says the nation can’t do well unless its Latino population does.

Published by Arte Publico Press and edited by Cisneros with longtime collaborator John Rosales, the book’s contributors comprise an all-star lineup of Latino leaders, including Raúl Yzaguirre, Ernesto Cortes, Sarita E. Brown, Roberto Suro and Lionel Sosa.

What should be done? Cisneros hopes the book can help change the national conversation about Latinos from one that has been largely xenophobic to one that might better see Latinos as they really are---a young population with a strong work ethic, with values embedded in faith, family, community and country.

Cisneros also hopes Latinos and the Nation’s Future can help evolve the conversation among Latinos, raising expectations among themselves.

Elaine Ayala