As we begin this new year, it’s a good time to reflect on the year that was and gather up the strength to face the challenges before us.
2018 was quite a year for the Hispanic Federation. Going into the second year of the Trump Administration, I knew that we had to remain laser-focused on one thing: protecting our communities. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the fear in our neighborhoods — in our homes — these last couple of years has been palpable. As we looked in horror last year at the images of children separated from their families at the border, watched the lack of support and empathy for our citizens in Puerto Rico, and absorbed the near-constant assault on voting and civil rights, it was understandable to feel frightened.
But here’s the thing: fear didn’t win. It would have been easy last year not to expand, stretch, innovate and find every means possible to fight back. Yet, in city after city, month after month, our network of agencies, donors and supporters responded as never before. In all of my years in public service I have never seen our community with a clearer sense of what needed to be done. And it empowered us to go beyond what many imagined possible.
The work highlighted in this year-end Piñata illustrates the power of our collective…the impact we achieved together! I spent the year traveling the country and whether it was our canvassers registering new voters in Central Florida, or volunteers joining us in Puerto Rico to rebuild the island, or our groups going to Washington to speak truth to power, it was clear to me that our communities were mobilized and committed to defend and uplift our values and people.
I was proud of us. Proud of our HF family. Proud of nuestra gente.
Now, the fight isn’t over. Not by a long shot. If anything, 2019 promises to offer even greater challenges. All you need to do is look at Washington to understand that the merchants of fear and division are down, but they’re not out. Our government remains shut down because of the xenophobia that has taken root at the White House, environmental protections are being gutted, the Dreamers are still at great risk of deportation, Puerto Rico’s economic crisis is as acute as ever, and access to health care for millions of Americans remains in peril. All of this is to say that our work is far from done.
Here’s the good news. We’re ready! We enter the new year stronger than at any point in our history. Our membership is growing. The scope and reach of our work is larger and deeper than ever before. Our grantmaking is at an all-time high. Policymakers are working with us and depending on our voice and research. What’s more, we have more than 200,000 supporters committed to our mission. We are moving forward with a great sense of purpose and desire. Or as we like to say in Spanish, ¡con ganas!
On behalf of the entire Hispanic Federation family, thank you for your support in 2018. The year ahead promises to be an important one for us all. Let’s get to work!