BOSTON (WWLP) – National Hispanic Heritage Month wrapped up this month, and the State House topped off the celebration with Latino Excellence Awards.
The Black and Latino Caucus hosted an event to celebrate Latino leaders across the state and their contributions to their communities. Representative Orlando Ramos, Representative Shirley Arriaga, Representative Bud Williams, and Senator Carlos Gonzalez were all in attendance as members of the Black and Latino Caucus.
Much of the speaking program focused on representation, and Senator Gonzalez spoke on the need for Latinos to get out and vote, “All the programs that we see, policies that are changed because of representation, and we’re only going to increase representation that reflects the needs of our community if we get out the vote.”
Governor Maura Healey and Lt Governor Kim Driscoll also spoke at the event. Governor Healey pointed towards accomplishments her office has made that have benefited the Latino community, like providing driver licenses to undocumented immigrants and starting the Council on Latino Empowerment.
Also representing western Massachusetts was Jose Escribano, the Chief of Family and Community Engagement for Springfield public schools. He was honored as keynote speaker, “We need voices of people that look like us, understand our concerns and our causes, to create these laws that better suit us.”
According to the Boston Foundation Research Center, Latinos make up 50% of Holyoke’s population and 42% of Springfield. At Thursday’s event, dozens of individuals from across the state were honored by their local lawmakers as Latino Community Leaders and Trailblazers.