Traynham: Latinos represent a growing portion of the U.S. population that is expected to reach 30% by the year 2060. By sheer numbers, this population could have a powerful voice in our government, but civic participation rates remain low. Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I'm Robert Traynham. With me is Abigail Golden-Vazquez. She's the Executive Director of the Latinos and Society Program at the Aspen Institute. Abigail, welcome to the program.
Golden-Vazquez: Thank you, Robert. I'm delighted to be here. Thank you for having me.
Traynham: You're more than welcome. So, what we have seen over the last couple of years with other minority groups is that, you know, civic participation is a little bit on the rise. There are a lot of folks out there that have said the Obama effect had a lot to do with that. Not only because of his skin tone, but because of just his youthfulness, if you will. But as I mentioned a few moments ago, it seems like in the Latino community, that's down -- that s actually really down. Why is that the case
Golden-Vazquez: So, obviously, civic participation is more than just voting, but it is important to talk about voting.
Traynham: That is true, that is true.
Golden-Vazquez: And Latinos under index in all measurements of civic participation. And this is in part due -- I mean, there's many, many reasons to explain this. Some of the reason might be language, whether some of the Latinos are naturalized. A big challenge is we don t offer civic education in our schools anymore, and the schools that suffer the most are low-income schools and schools that have lots of students of color. Now, Latinos as a population are increasing, as you mentioned, but their rates of participation aren't mirroring that, aren't matching that growth. So we had in 2016, we had about under half of eligible voters voting. In 2012, that was slightly down from 2012. There's another part of this picture, though. Because of the pure growth in this population, more Latinos voted than ever before. Just not at the rates that they should be.
Traynham: You know, Abigail, I want to go back for a second. You mentioned something that s vitally important. Civic participation does not necessarily mean, well, I have to vote, although that s extremely important. It's also participating in jury duty. It s perhaps maybe -- there's a lot of ways that you can participate in the civic... I would say health of this country in many ways. And the only way that the government can actually survive is for people to participate.
Traynham: You mentioned something else that I wanted to stress, and that is the lack of civic education in our schools. How do we change that Golden-Vazquez: Well, there's a lot of things that we can do, but it's incredibly complicated because if you've ever engaged in any conversations on education reform or curriculum reform --
Traynham: Incredibly complex.
Golden-Vazquez: That is very, very complex. Ideally, we would like to see civic education offered in every school across America. That may not happen, so sometimes you have to create workarounds. So the Aspen Institute convened a group of leaders, you know, thought leaders and activists and various civic organizations from across the spectrum that we're talking about from voting to volunteerism, et cetera, and they came up with a set of recommendations. And the highest recommendation from them was increasing civic education. We said, well, we can include it in after-school programs, we can create apps to teach civic education. So, in the short run, we're gonna be looking at workarounds, but in the long run, we need to have it in every school.
Traynham: This conversation is only beginning.Click the link below for more of our discussion.
As part of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, the Small Business Administration is studying how the practice of Multiple Award Contracts impacts the ability of women-owned and other socio-economic categories of small businesses to compete for government work. Jane Campbell, President of Women Impacting Public Policy discusses the SBA study, which is in response to a WIPP report regarding women owned businesses and government contracts.
The United States Census Bureau provides data about the nation’s people and economy. While that data is used by our government for planning and redistricting purposes, there are private sector applications as well – especially for businesses. DeVere Kutscher, Principal with Public Private Strategies discusses the importance of census accuracy and its effect on businesses making informed decisions.
In September 2017, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rolled back guidance under Title IX regarding standards for colleges to prevent, respond to and investigate incidents of sexual assault on campus. The Department of Education has issued interim guidance, pending a public notice and comment period. Jenn Brown, of The United State of Women, discusses the roll back and encourages public awareness of the upcoming notice and comment period to assure that all voices are heard.
Latino youth lag behind in STEM education, while Hispanics are at the fastest rate growing mobile technology users. A discussion with Amy Hinojosa, President and CEO of MANA, a national Latino Organization on efforts to bridge the STEM gap with young Latinas through programs that teach web design and coding using the tools that students are familiar with - mobile phones.
On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – the first comprehensive tax reform passed since 1986, under President Reagan. While charitable deductions have been preserved, some non-profit organizations are concerned about a potential drop-off in donations next year. An interview with Steve Taylor, Senior Vice President for Policy at United Way Worldwide.
There is a current trend toward incivility dominating public discourse in the United States. A grassroots campaign is working to reverse that trend, encouraging civility to improve collaboration, compromise and productivity in legislative bodies. Jody Thomas, Executive Director of the National Foundation for Women Legislators discusses efforts by NFWL and partnering organizations to encourage civil discourse for elected officials.
By 2020, it's estimated that 65% of jobs will require post-secondary education. But educational gaps still exist across socio-economic, gender, and racial lines. Dr. Michael L. Lomax of the United Negro College Fund addresses today's educational needs. Visit the United Negro College Fund on the web at www.UNCF.org
In 2016, there were approximately 27.3 million eligible Latino voters. However, less than half exercised their right to vote in the 2016 Presidential election.
Abigail Golden-Vazquez, Executive Director of the Latinos and Society Program at the Aspen Institute discusses the issues and efforts to boost Latino civic participation. Click here for part 1 of Latinos and Civic Participation.
Interview recorded Sept 6, 2017.
America's political landscape continues to change. With the Asian American and Pacific Islander community expected to reach more than 20 million people by the end of this year, overcoming voting barriers is critical for this population. With Christine Chen, Executive Director of the Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) Vote.
In discussing voting barriers, Chen stated, "As we're celebrating the 50th Anniversary... of the Voting Rights Act, we understand that piece of legislation also eventually allowed language assistance."
Visit Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote on the web at www.APIAVote.org or www.Facebook.com/APIAVote or follow at www.Twitter.com/APIAVote.
It's been 50 years since the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Spencer Overton, President of The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies discusses the state of the minority vote a half century later, and its impact on the future of race, politics and voting rights.
Overton commented, "Voting is more racially polarized now than it was back in the 1960's... in terms of party voting and then also if you look into local elections... race is the most significant factor."
Visit the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies at www.JointCenter.org or on Facebook or follow Spencer Overton on twitter www.twitter.com/SpencerOverton.