Honoring humanity creates an equitable and just society.
The Washington State Office of Equity champions equity and justice for Latinos and celebrates the rich Latino heritage that has shaped the state’s history and is instrumental to its future success. We work to ensure that every Latino has equitable access to the opportunities, power, and resources they need to succeed and are welcomed, supported, and feel a sense of belonging when working in or seeking assistance from state agencies. We count on the commitment, partnership, and support of Latino communities and leaders – across the state, inside and outside of state government, - in this important work of dismantling the historic, systemic, power dynamics that oppress Latinos, while building new systems and safeguards that advance representation and ensure Latino access to participation in all aspects of society (such as, government, business, education) until each and every Latino in the state flourishes and achieves their full potential.
As a group, Latinos are diverse in race, history and cultural experiences and have a shared heritage related to the Spanish colonial history of Central and Latin America, the Caribbean and certain parts of the United States. This heritage includes Latinos that are Mexican, Guatemalan, Puerto Rican or Boricuan, Colombian, Venezuelan and Dominican. It includes Latinos who call themselves Chicano, Latinx, Latine and Hispanic. It includes Latinos who trace their origins in the United States prior to the formation of western states as well as those that have more recently arrived to the United States. It includes Latinos of multiple races and those who speak Spanish, English or another language that would be familiar to their Indigenous ancestors. It includes people whose family lineage is made up of Spaniards who colonized and settled lands new to them, Africans who were captured and enslaved to build colonial wealth and a vast array of people indigenous to the lands in Central and South America and the Caribbean. This diverse heritage forms the modern identity of Latino. The beauty and strength of this diverse heritage is visible in the variety of perspectives and traditions that are present among Latinos today.
With nearly 1 million Latinos residing in Washington, this group is an important part of our cultural and social fabric and contributes to every aspect of community life in Washington. Latino owned businesses employ more than 30,000 Washingtonians and collectively, the Latino community brings a spending power of $10 billion to our economy.
Equity issues of concern to the Latino community include:
- Access to economic opportunity. As a group, Latinos experience disparately high rates of poverty.
- Availability of relevant and disaggregated data to address community concerns.
- Social systems and institutions that are responsive to the needs and concerns of Latinos. This includes equity in:
- Economic and workforce development systems.
- Higher education and K-12 education systems.
- Legal and justice systems.
- Health systems - including systems related to physical, behavioral, and environmental health.
Your individuality is important, but so is belonging. Recognize the parts of your culture that have shaped your past, and the parts you want to carry with you into the future. Sol Peralta