To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, hundreds of people from Boston’s Latino community joined me on City Hall Plaza to come together for this nationwide celebration of Latin ancestry and culture.
Boston is home to a strong, proud Latino population, and it’s hard to overstate what an incredible impact it’s had on our city. For generations, people with roots in Mexico, Central America, South America, Spain, and the Caribbean have helped make our city what it is today. They’ve made major contributions in every neighborhood, and every aspect of city life— from education to business to the arts. They’ve helped to define what makes us uniquely Boston.
Latinos are also a big reason for Boston’s growing strength. One in five Bostonians are of Latin descent. Over the last 20 years, Latinos have been the largest contributors to population growth in our city.
Today, more than 40 percent of BPS students are Latinos. We know that if we want Boston’s youth to succeed, we need to make sure Boston is a city where Latinos are thriving personally and professionally. I’m proud that Latinos in my administration lead our departments of Health and Human Services, Women’s Advancement, Arts and Culture, and Veterans Services, just to name a few! And we’re proud to have a Latinx Employee Resource Group, which fosters inclusion and professional development among City employees.
In everything we do, we are focused on understanding this community, celebrating this community, and tearing down any barriers that hold it back. In Boston Public Schools, we’re put an emphasis on ELL instruction in classrooms, afterschool programs, and summer learning. We have great dual-language programs at schools like the Umana Academy in East Boston. And we’ve seen major success with our Summer Jobs program and our tuition-free community college program— both of which are expanding opportunities for young people of color in our city.
We’re also focused on supporting our small businesses, which reflect Boston’s rich diversity of cultures, and are very important to the Latino community. Through our Economic Equity and Inclusion Agenda, we’re dedicating resources to make sure entrepreneurs of color are able to start and grow their businesses in Boston.
Our Office for Immigrant Advancement is setting a national example for how to make sure immigrants feel welcome, valued, and safe. From free immigration clinics at City Hall, to resources for DACA and TPS recipients, to helping hundreds of people with their citizenship applications at our annual Citizenship Day, we are making sure Boston is a city where immigrants can truly thrive.
These are all vital parts of our commitment to making sure Boston remains a city of opportunity for everyone. I am grateful to serve as Mayor of a city full of vibrant cultures; a city built by immigrants; a city where every family can reach their dreams. And I’m proud to celebrate Boston’s incredible Latino communities— during this special month and all year long.
For more information on how the City of Boston is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, and how you can get involved, go to Boston.gov/national-hispanic-heritage-month.
Martin J. Walsh is the Mayor of Boston.