What we have known all along
— reported by HispanicAd.com
As 500,000 Latino demonstrators swept through the streets of downtown Los Angeles last week to protest immigration legislation winding its way through Congress, most of the nation was stunned, shocked and surprised. The demonstration seemed to come from nowhere, without warning. Suddenly, there it was, a massive sea of flag-waving marchers 26 blocks long; so many that it took six hours for the procession to make its way through the city.
What happened, though, was no surprise. It was a testament to the power of Spanish in this country – not just Spanish-language media, but Spanish itself. For weeks before the hordes of Hispanics poured into the streets, the rally had been publicized, and in some cases promoted, on Spanish-language radio and television stations, and in Spanish-language newspapers, across the country. Wear white, they were told. Take your children. Bring plenty of water. Let’s be civil. They came, of course, to show their opposition to an immigration bill, to show their solidarity. But in the process, they succeeded in showing what we’ve known all along: you reach Hispanics in this country in Spanish.
Study after study shows that 79 percent of second-generation Latinos speak Spanish and, in a stunning reversal of patterns among earlier immigrant groups, more than a third of the third-generation Hispanics do. The result: an exclusive Hispanic U.S.A. Inc study shows that the number of Spanish-dominant and bilingual Latinos in the United States will actually increase by 45 percent over the next two decades, adding 12.5 million more Spanish-speakers by 2025.But even those numbers miss an even more important reality of Hispanics in the U.S.A.: You motivate us by speaking to us in the language of our music. We like to be courted in the language we make love in, for some that is in English, for most of us, it’s in Espanol.