By Barack Obama
Last fall, Latina Lista sent an invitation to the major presidential candidates of both parties to “blog” on Latina Lista as a way to address our readers. As the campaigns are regrouping after what can only be described as a successful night for both of the Democratic frontrunners during the Super Tuesday elections, one Democratic candidate, who has yet to address Latina Lista readers, decided to forego some sleep and contribute a post.
By now in this campaign season, Senator Barack Obama is a familiar face. This Illinois Senator with a degree from Harvard was the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He spent his early days after law school graduation practicing civil rights law and teaching constitutional law.
His experience in grassroots organizing helped lead to his bid for the Illinois State Senate where he served for eight years. In 2004, he became the third African American since Reconstruction to be elected to the U.S. Senate.
Today, Senator Obama shares his vision of the future and what he plans to bring to all the people who call the United States home.
I want to thank Latina Lista for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the blog and to talk about change in this great country with the Latina community.
Since the day I was born, I have been surrounded by strong women. I was raised by a single mother, have married a strong independent woman who has blessed me with two beautiful girls and now Iâ€™m trying to raise them to pursue their dreams no matter how big, and become future leaders.
As a son, husband and parent I am well aware that women are the core of family. Mothers, wives and sisters are the ones who protect us, care for us, teach us and encourage us.
I also know that for women of all backgrounds, keeping their families together is a top priority. It is no secret that Latino families are being separated from their families every day in this country because of raids and deportation policies that do not take family and humanity into account when trying to enforce laws.
Thatâ€™s why when I’m President, I will put comprehensive immigration reform back on the nation’s agenda during my first year in office, and I will not rest until it is passed once and for all.
We must create an immigration system that strengthens our security while strengthening our families and reaffirming our heritage as a nation of immigrants — a nation dedicated to giving weary travelers from around the world the chance to achieve their dreams.
Thatâ€™s the America that answered my fatherâ€™s letters and his prayers and brought him here from Kenya so long ago.
But the struggle does not end there.
At 21 percent, the national Latino high school dropout rate is more than twice the national average. Once more, under current law students who do excel in and out of school that were brought here as undocumented immigrant children have no hope of attending college with affordable in-state tuition.
We need to close the achievement gap between Latino and other students, reduce the high school dropout rate, and finally enact the DREAM Act so that every child can have the chance to attend college.
An Obama administration will also reflect the great diversity of our nation, and Iâ€™m proud that my campaign team is similarly diverse. I am lucky to have the support of Gloria Romero, Democratic Majority Leader of the California State Senate, Maria Elena Durazo, Rep. Linda Sanchez and Rep. Xavier Becerra. Federico PeÃ±a, former Energy Secretary, serves as a National Campaign Co-Chair.
I have also worked closely with Congressman Luis Gutierrez here in Illinois and consider him an amazing leader in the struggle to pass immigration reform and ensure that immigration application fees are reasonable and fair.
While we recognize our diversity of background and experiences, what makes this country great are the common goals and dreams we as Americans share. We all fundamentally want the same things in life: the best opportunities for our children, a decent job and the knowledge that our government will not stand by while families are being separated, while people lose their livelihoods and their homes because of an illness their insurance will not cover.
It is not only important, but urgent, that we come together this election and ensure that as one nation, we change the direction of politics in this country. Let us together bring about a politics of hope and change.