NLCI CELEBRATES YOUNG AMERICANS ON EL DÍA DE LOS NIÑOS

U.S. Senate Passes “El Día de los Niños: Celebrating Young Americans” Senate Resolution (S.Res.125) with Unanimous Consent

San Antonio, TX—Today, the U.S. Senators joined with the National Latino Children’s Institute and families across the country to celebrate El Día de los Niños, a day that recognizes the importance of investing in the nation’s children as the country’s future. This year marks the 15th year of commemorating this day. It was established in 1998 for Americans to acknowledge the importance of children, their rights, well-being and significance to this country. The National Latino Children’s Institute (NLCI) has led the effort to establish the day in the United States and has garnered support of leaders and organizations, state and local officials and corporations. Since 1998 NLCI has worked closely with the U.S. Senate to introduce an annual bipartisan resolution recognizing the day. This year, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) are joined by U.S. Senators, Mike Crapo (R-ID), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA) co-sponsored the resolution. Senate Resolution (S.RES 125) was passed by Unanimous Consent on April 25, 2013.

“NLCI is honored to continue our work with Senator Menendez to highlight issues impacting young Latinos and to celebrate all children on NLCI’s El Día de los Niños,” said Josie F. Garza,NLCI’s executive director. “Latinos know that the center of the family, of the community, is its children. But we also know that much needs to be done to improve the conditions in which they live. NLCI is committed to shining that spotlight not only on the challenges, but also the contributions of young Latinos. NLCI’s El Día de los Niños is a day of celebration, a day to honor all children and the gifts they bring.”

“I am proud to introduce once again a resolution celebrating El Día de los Niños to recognize the importance of providing our children with the resources they need to reach their full potential,” said Senator Menendez. “Our nation’s prosperity and the quality of life for Americans will depend on the quality of the education our children receive. It is in our national economic interest to ensure all of our children are successful, and I thank Senate Majority Leader Reid for joining me in introducing this important resolution. I reaffirm my commitment to continuing to solve the issues faced by our nation’s youth, and as a member of the bipartisan group of senators fighting for a comprehensive reform to our broken immigration system, I pledge to continue working with my colleagues so that all our communities can achieve their full potential by becoming US Citizens who can fully participate in American life and fully contribute to the American economy through their ingenuity, skills, and hard work.”

“In Nevada’s playgrounds, one out of every three kids under five is Latino, and in the United States, one out of every four of these children is Hispanic. But many of these children may not reach their full potential if we fail to invest in them today. As a father of five and grandfather of sixteen, I’ve seen at home how important a healthy childhood is for our nation’s future,” said Senator Reid. “I join parents and our youth as they celebrate this Día de los Niños with cultural festivities and other events, promoting education and highlighting the importance of our next generation of leaders. As we debate the bipartisan commonsense immigration reform bill, I will continue to work to get this bill over the finish line. This issue is personal for me and critical to the well-being of children and their families. The stories I often hear in Nevada’s communities tug at the heartstrings. Our broken system tears families apart every day, and we need to fix it once and for all.”

“As we celebrate this day across the country, I think about the children that have been impacted by the lack of comprehensive immigration reform. I think about the children whose parents have been deported and are now in the system. I wonder about Rodrigo Guzman a 4th grader in Berkeley, CA, whose family was stopped by ICE at the Houston airport on their way back from vacation. Because his father’s VISA had expired, all their visas were taken and cancelled and they were all sent back to Mexico. Rodrigo only knows Berkeley as his home, and his friends miss him. This does not matter to ICE, but Rodrigo and all children whose rights are violated matter to us.” Garza continues, “As policy makers in state legislations and in D.C. debate the issues I ask them to focus on solving the issues that impact the safety, rights, education, well-being and protection of all children. It is imperative that the system, laws and rules are changed to ensure that children are not terrorized or separated from their families. It is imperative that we stand together and include youth in the conversation that is going to impact them.”

On April 30, 2013, on behalf of children, especially young Latinos from across the country NLCI will be delivering to the President hundreds of children’s wishes collected this weekend during El día de los Niños celebrations from across the country. We call these wishes “milagros” (literally “miracles”); traditionally in Latin America these wishes are pinned to the clothing of a saint as a request or thank you for the milagro. This tradition is centuries old, and NLCI carries it on by creating an opportunity for children’s voices to be heard: Milagros-Children Advocating for Children.

From California to New York, special events are planned across the country to celebrate NLCI’sEl Día de los Niños with hundreds of thousands of children and families participating. Each celebration is unique to its city, but all will acknowledge the future of the community─their children. For additional information on NLCI and other El Día de los Niños activities visit www.nlci.org.

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About the National Latino Children’s Institute

NLCI is the only national Latino organization whose focus is young Latinos ages 0-18, and serves as the voice for young Latino’s. NLCI’s mission is to focus the nation’s attention on the contributions and challenges of young Latinos by advocating for their success and well-being through partnerships and programs. The organization carries out its mission by partnering with NLCI’s La Promesa Network, as well as local, regional and national organizations working to improve the lives of Latino children. NLCI creates and implements strategies that eliminate barriers to building healthy communities for young Latinos by incorporating the principles of the National Latino Children’s Agenda. For more information on NLCI go to www.nlci.org.

About El Día de Los Niños – Celebrating Young Americans

El Día de los Niños was modified from the Mexican holiday El Día del Niño, and celebrated on April 30, the day was first declared a commemorative day by a resolution of the United States Senate in 1998 and has been celebrated nationally since.

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BACKGROUND

  • According to the 2011 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 17,400,000 of the nearly 52,000,000 individuals of Hispanic descent living in the United States are children under the age of 18, representing more than 33 percent of the total Hispanic population residing in the United States.
  • Approximately 1 in 5 United States public school students is Hispanic, and the U.S. Census Bureau projects that the number of school-age Latino children will be 28,000,000 in 2050.
  • According to Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of the 2000 Census and 2011 American Community Survey, the high school dropout rate for Hispanic teens (ages 16-19) residing in the U.S. has declined significantly from 17.5 percent in 2000 to 6.8 percent in 2011; however, college enrollment for Latinos between the ages of 18-24 lags behind all other racial/ethnic groups (32.9 percent in 2011, compared to 47 percent of non-Hispanic Whites, 37.2 percent of non-Hispanic Blacks, and 66.3 percent of non-Hispanic Asians). Additionally, only 13.4 percent of Latinos ages 25 and older are college graduates.
  • Hispanic children under 18 continue to represent the largest group of children living in poverty in the U.S. and the largest group of children lacking health insurance.

 

 

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